Bakey helps keep Ri­d­ley on a roll

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - SPORTS - By Chuck Smith For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

MID­DLE­TOWN >> The re­ju­ve­na­tion of Ri­d­ley’s sea­son took an­other big step for­ward Fri­day night when the Green Raiders turned in a strong per­for­mance with a 42-20 vic­tory over Pen­ncrest.

For Ri­d­ley coach Dave Wood, it was the con­tin­u­a­tion of a string of solid ef­forts for the Green Raiders af­ter a rocky 0-4 start to the sea­son.

“We made a cou­ple of ad­just­ments a cou­ple of weeks ago, we re­de­fined some things, made some per­son­nel changes so not as many kids were go­ing both ways and it’s re­ally shown,” Wood said. “When you look at what the of­fen­sive line has done and what the (Jack) Bakey kid, our quar­ter­back, is play­ing re­ally well. With the (Eli­jah) Yak­pa­suo kid, the (Dy­lan) Sta­ley kick, we’re re­ally mix­ing it up and do­ing a great job that way.

“The (Tah­mir) Wil­more kid came to our de­fense and he’s all over the field. We’re still young in spots, but I think we’re bet­ter off for what we did and the kids are re­ally play­ing hard.”

While the Green Raiders put forth a dom­i­nant ef­fort, it was Pen­ncrest who struck first with an ex­plo­sive start. The Lions went deep on the game’s first play when quar­ter­back Nick Be­necke con­nected with Jayden Brown for a 76-yard touch­down and quick 7-0 lead for Pen­ncrest.

From there, how­ever, it was all Ri­d­ley. The Green Raiders, who im­proved to 4-4 over­all and 4-3 in the Cen­tral League, used an over­pow­er­ing run­ning at­tack to wear down the Lions (1-7 over­all, 1-6 Cen­tral) de­fense. Bakey and Yak­pa­suo did the ma­jor­ity of the dam­age for Ri­d­ley.

Yak­pa­suo, who tal­lied 103 yards on 10 car­ries, scored on runs of seven and four yards, re­spec­tively, but it was Bakey who com­pletely took over.

Ri­d­ley’s quar­ter­back was ef­fi­cient through the air as he com­pleted two of four passes for 54 yards early on. Us­ing his speed and su­pe­rior vi­sion, Bakey dipped, shook, and danced his way to 118 yards on nine car­ries for four touch­downs.

It was a su­pe­rior per­for­mance for the se­nior sig­nal caller.

“Our of­fen­sive line played great, we had huge holes to run through, and I think we re­ally just com­peted well in prac­tice this week,” Bakey said. “Whether it is a run or a pass, we know we just have to go out there and ex­e­cute, do our as­sign­ments, and the play will be pos­i­tive.”

Bakey was also cog­nizant of the marked dif­fer­ence be­tween the Green Raiders’ per­for­mance of late com­pared to ear­lier in the sea­son.

“We’re a com­pletely dif­fer­ent team,” Bakey said. “We had a lot of young guys in at the be­gin­ning of the year, but now they’ve stepped up big, learned their roles, and we’re just re­ally rolling right now. We’ve got a huge game next week (against Up­per Darby).”

De­fen­sively, Ri­d­ley was staunch and used ex­cel­lent play up front to con­trol the game.

Wil­more had 1.5 sacks, while Sean Hinchey (sack), and Myles Turner (half sack) kept pres­sure on Be­necke.

To its credit, Pen­ncrest con­tin­ued to bat­tle, but it was to no avail; Ri­d­ley was just too strong on this night.

“We’re a lit­tle banged up and we’re low in num­bers, but our guys fight,” said Lions coach An­drew Pid­geon, a for­mer All-Delco quar­ter­back at Ri­d­ley. “It doesn’t sur­prise me that we came out af­ter half­time and played hard. We needed guys to make plays af­ter half­time and they did that.

“I’m proud of them,” Pid­geon added. “When you work out all win­ter long, all sum­mer long, and all through­out camp, you know these kids love foot­ball and they’ve got two more guar­an­teed op­por­tu­ni­ties to play foot­ball. That’s what they do; they’re foot­ball play­ers.”

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