Golden Eagles roll over Ridgewood, 47-7

Robert Blackford/Editor
Payton Holmes catches a football from Tanner Matlick against Ridgewood.

The Mercer County Golden Eagles football team rolled over Ridgewood Friday night, 47-7.

The stingy Mercer County defense didn't allow a Ridgewood a first down until the final play of the third quarter.

“If we pitch a shutout we can't lose,” said Mercer County head coach Nat Zunkel. “That's what we tell the kids each week.”

Zunkel added, “I thought the defense played well tonight. They were excited when they got on the football field. (Chris) Hedrick, (Landon) McIntosh and (Caleb) VanderHayden all stepped up tonight.”

The Golden Eagles took the opening possession down the field to the Ridgewood 15 yard line before quarterback Tanner Matlick was intercepted by Ridgewood defensive lineman Joe Chiolero behind the line of scrimmage.

The Mercer County defense pushed the Ridgewood offense from the 25 yard line all the way back to the six y ard line forcing them to punt.

The Golden Eagles didn't waste their next possession marching 32 yard down the field and scoring on a two yard run by Zach Nelson. Mercer County went up 7-0 on Bobby Lincoln's extra point. It was the first of three touchdowns by Nelson on the evening. “We work week in and week out to I mprove. We gan't just be satisfied to win the game. We have to get better each week,” said Nelson.

“We want to kown we can shove the ball down anbody's throats for a first down or a touchdown,” said Zunkel. “I think we did a lot of things well tonight.”

The Golden Eagle defense held Ridgewood again tackling Ridgewood running back Dusty Werner for losses of six and seven yards at the end of the first quarter.

Once the second quarter started the Golden Eagles started clicking on offense. Mercer County scored 34 points in the second period alone.

Mercer County drove 29 yards on two plays as Matlick hit Payton Holmes on a 21 yard touchdown pas fir the first score of the second half.

“It was the same as last week,” said Holmes about the catch. I just stayed witi it and somehow stayed in bounds.”

Matlick would finish the night completing 10 passes for 89 yards.

“We didn't get rolling until the second quarter,” said Matlick, “then we did what we needed to do to put points on the board. 

Golden Eagle Caleb King picked up a Ridgewood fumble giving Mercer County excellent field possession. The Mercer County offense drove down to the Ridgewood six yard line before turning the ball over on a fumble.

On Ridgewood's next play from scrimmage Logan Snyder stripped the ball loose and Zach Nelson recovered it for a tochdown giving Mercer County a 21-0 lead.

“I was going to hit him when the ball slipped out of his arms I picked it up and scored.”

The Golden Eagles would score again at the 3:17 mark as Logan Snyder ran 16 y ards for the touchdown. Mercer County led 28-0.

The game got out of hand then as Zach Nelson scored on a seven yard run at the 2:53 mark and Derrick Morford ran 21 yards for the touchdown with 37 seconds remaining. Mercer County held a 41-0 lead at the half scoring 20 points in the final 3:17 of the first half.

Bryce Skiles came up with an interception for Mercer County to end the first Ridgewood drive of the secoond half.

The Golden Eagles fed Ridgewood a steady diet of Logan and Jesse Snyder as the pair combinted for 43 yard rushing in the next drive. Logan Snyder finished off the drive with a 20 yard touchdown run with 3:05 remaining in the third quarter. Logan led the squad in rushing with 82 yards on seven carries.

Ridgewood did come up with a touchdown late in the fourth period as Jacob Peterson rushed 16 yards for the touchdown with 6:15 remaining in the contest.