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Ridgewood Muscles Past Clifton in NJ Football Playoffs First Round

On a cold and blustery night with howling winds at Clifton Stadium, the Ridgewood Maroons followed similar blueprint in their 28-7 win over the Mustangs in the regular season, jumping out to an early first quarter lead. This time around the stakes were much greater with a trip to the semifinals in the North 1, Group 5 playoffs.

Capitalizing on a short punt by Clifton, Ridgewood cashed in immediately as kicker James Hogan booted home a 36-yard field goal with six minutes left. Three minutes later quarterback Jack Barclay found the end zone on a 39-yard touchdown run. With a minute remaining, running back Paul Calvetti burst through the line for a 17-yard score.

Held to 131 rushing yards in the first match-up against the Mustangs, Ridgewood racked up big yardage on the ground piling up 361 yards, led by Calvertti’s career game rushing 20 times for 193 yards. Barclay finished with 92 yards on nine carries.

“With the wind, punters could not punt the ball more than 20 yards in warm-ups,” said a frozen head coach Chuck Johnson. “Fortunate to win the coin toss and able to defer and set us up with field position in the first quarter that was most important part of the game and we have a good kicker.”

Behind a solid offensive line that opened up gaping holes, Calvetti gashed the Mustangs defense breaking loose for a 55-yard touchdown run with eight minutes to go in the second quarter. Calvetti made his presence known on the defensive side of the ball making 10 tackles. Clifton answered back with a 66-yard drive that chewed up six minutes of the clock and finished off with a three-yard touchdown run.

In the third quarter both defenses came up with stops on fourth down. Early in the fourth quarter Mustangs quarterback Armani Brinson scored on a eight-yard touchdown run but the extra point was no good trimming the deficit to 24-13. That would be as close as Clifton would get with Parker Scott sealing the Maroons win with a one-yard plunge late in the game.

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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