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Friday night rewind

By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 3, 2002


QUOTABLE

"They've earned every respect they've gotten. We decided to do it (Friday) in typical Ridgewood fashion. It wasn't pretty, but it was effective. That's all that matters. We're happy as (heck) to be playing in the playoffs." -- TROY CORNWELL, Ridgewood coach, on the Rams' 19-14 win over Central that earned the program the first postseason appearance in its 19-year history.

GAME BALLS

ANTHONY PONDS, RIDGEWOOD: The junior defensive back recovered two fumbles, broke up two passes and returned kickoffs in the Rams' 19-14 victory over Central. Ponds' first fumble recovery set up Ridgewood's first touchdown, and his second sealed the win in the final minutes.

ADAMM OLIVER, RIDGEWOOD: The senior tailback/defensive end rushed for a game-high 139 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown, on 24 carries in the Rams' win. His 22-yard run up the middle set up Sean Jester's winning score midway through the fourth quarter.

MIKE OIKNINE, CENTRAL: The senior wide receiver caught four passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. He wrestled a ball away from Ridgewood defensive back Kale Durocher for a 30-yard gain and caught a 55-yard touchdown for a brief fourth-quarter lead.

TIM GAYNOR, CENTRAL: The senior running back rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries on his birthday. His 62-yard run around right end gave the Bears a spark after they fell behind 13-0 in the first quarter, and his 15-yard scoring run three plays later got them back in the game.

ANTHONY GAYNOR, CENTRAL: The sophomore defensive back blocked an extra-point attempt and intercepted a pass in the end zone, preventing Ridgewood from adding to its early 13-point lead.

ART STARKS, HERNANDO: The senior running back finished with a game-high 149 yards (on 12 carries) and a 73-yard touchdown in a 42-26 win over Gulf. Starks had 100 yards after four carries. His touchdown run was nearly undone by the prescription brace he wears on his surgically repaired knee. It began to slide down his leg near the end of the run and he had to slow down inside the 20-yard line.

ROD ROBERTS, HERNANDO: The junior nearly matched Starks with 137 yards on 11 carries and a 9-yard score. Defensive back Bobby Harmer will remember that touchdown (Roberts' fifth of the season). Roberts paved him like Broad Street at the goal line. Roberts' big night helped him pass teammate Jagren Castillo in rushing yardage for the season. He has 678, Castillo 655.

HOBBLED BUT HAPPY

Not even an injured ankle could keep Sean Jester off the field for Ridgewood's 19-14 victory over Central. The senior wide receiver/defensive back felt a sharp pain in his ankle after running over a Central defender near the Ridgewood sideline on one of his first carries of the game. He tried to walk the pain off, but it did no good, so he had the ankle taped instead. "I couldn't stay out," Jester said. "I went in the first time and ran on it and it hurt, but I came back to the sideline and I said I couldn't stay out. I wanted to play so bad." Jester rested the ankle at halftime and a trainer continued to tape it throughout the game. "It's pretty tight," Jester said afterward. "She used a lot of tape, too." Jester's determination paid off midway through the fourth quarter. With Ridgewood trailing 14-13, he started off tackle, bounced outside and beat the Central defense to the corner of the end zone for the winning 12-yard touchdown. How did it feel? "It felt great," Jester said. "Especially running on a hurt foot."

-- Compiled by Keith Niebuhr, Frank Pastor, Jamal Thalji and Dave Walters.

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