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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.

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."

NOW STARTING FOR WESLEY CHAPEL

It was not the best time to start a rookie quarterback. Say, against archrival Pasco, with the district and playoff positioning on the line? Anthony Rawson had trouble holding onto the snap from center, so Cory Filley returned under center in last week's win over the Pirates.

But Friday night, with Filley serving a one-game suspension from that game, Rawson made his second start in a 37-6 win over Hudson and was up to the task. He completed six of 12 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown, a 54-yard strike to a wide-open Tim Davis. The tight end got behind the Cobras' secondary and went all the way. Later, Davis dropped what would have been a sure touchdown at the goal line. Rawson also completed a 50-yard pass to Chris Roberts to convert a third-and-32.

But Wildcats coach John Castelamare said there is no quarterback controversy entering next week's big showdown with Land O'Lakes, when the Sunshine Athletic Conference title and playoff positioning will be on the line.

"Anthony did a good job," he said. "But I told Cory he would get the shot."

BAKER'S THE MAN

The leg of River Ridge kicker Matt Baker was an asset again as the Knights jumped out to a 6-0 lead against Springstead on 35- and 45-yard field goals. The junior was also perfect on three extra points in the 27-0 win.

On Baker's first field-goal attempt, Knights coach Mike DeGennarro tried a little razzle-dazzle with a fake that featured holder/quarterback Ryan Mistal hitting David Onorato just short of the goal line for an 8-yard completion on fourth-and-goal from the 9.

PUNTING TROUBLES

Springstead struggled on special teams as punter Mike Hibbert had three snaps sail over his head. The three bad snaps resulted in punts for minus 25 yards, minus 1 yard and 25 yards.

Hibbert did have a 42-yard punt downed at the River Ridge 2-yard line and a 46-yarder that pinned the Knights deep in their own territory.

Springstead coach Bill Vonada isn't making excuses about the Eagles' lackluster offensive performance that netted just 87 yards.

"You can't blame it on youth," Vonada said. "It's amazing how many times we put the ball on the ground. We just made too many mistakes and panicked."

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

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