NEW?PARIS - Friday night's final home game of the season against Bedford didn't start off very well for Chestnut Ridge's football team.
After holding the Bisons to a three-and-out on the opening possession, the Lions accidentally tipped a long punt, creating a live ball that was recovered by Bedford at Ridge's 23-yard line. Seven plays later, Bisons running back Aaron Henry gave his team the lead with a 1-yard touchdown dive. Down 7-0, the Lions proceeded to fumble away the ensuing kickoff, giving Bedford the ball at the 45-yard line.
But the fumble seemed to wake up the Lions. They held the Bisons to back-to-back three-and-out possessions to finish the first quarter. That defensive effort sparked a fire underneath the Lions.
In the final three quarters, Ridge scored five unanswered touchdowns - led by quarterback Beau Bosch's three rushing scores and a touchdown pass - running away with a 33-7 victory over its long-time rival.
"It was a nice win, considering the start we got off to," Lions coach Max Shoemaker said. "I thought the kids recovered nice and asserted themselves as the game wore on."
The dominant play of the Ridge offensive line was evident in the rushing game, which racked up 257 yards. Bosch ran the option for 124 yards to go with his three scores, while fullback Jacob Mock also gained 124 yards, scoring once.
At the same time, the Lions' defensive line held the Bedford running game - a week removed from running up more than 200 yards against Bishop Carroll - to just 72 yards on 33 carries.
"Our offensive line has done a good job all year and we did a nice job of controlling the line of scrimmage," Shoemaker said. "Jake [Mock] runs the ball real hard and he kind of carried us in the second half."
Bedford's night of missed opportunities was typified by the start of its final possession. With just over one minute left in the game, Henry took a Ridge kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown - only for the score to be nullified by a block in the back call that took place at least 20 yards behind the play.
"Certainly in the first half they had some turnovers and we were only able to capitalize on one of them," Bisons coach Kevin Steele said. "Their score that they had before the end of the second quarter was big. I think that shifted the momentum a bit. At the end of the day, they controlled the line of scrimmage and got the job done."
The loss ended Bedford's 2012 season with a 2-8 record. The team will lose nine seniors, including the versatile Henry, who played quarterback for most of the season, and leading tackler and rusher Jacob Wirick.
"It was a frustrating year," Steele said. "It didn't quite work out the way we hoped. The seniors were a pleasure to coach. This certainly wasn't the result they wanted to end their season on."
The victory pushed the Lions' record to 5-5 and gave the team some confidence going into next week's District 5 Class AA championship game against Everett, which will be played at 7 p.m. Friday at Northern Bedford's Panther Community Stadium in Loysburg.
"We had lost the last two weeks to some pretty good competition and it was nice to get back on the right track," Shoemaker said. "We gathered some momentum going into the championship game next week."
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bedford7 0 0 0 - 7
Chestnut Ridge0 13 7 13 - 33
B-Henry 1 run (Montgomery kick), 7:36.
CR-Weyant 6 pass from Bosch (VanMeter kick), 6:36.
CR-Bosch 5 run (kick failed), :14.
CR-Bosch 12 run (VanMeter kick), 6:21.
CR-Mock 16 run (run failed), 11:33.
CR-Bosch 6 run (VanMeter kick), 1:10.
RUSHING: Bedford-Henry 14-34, Wirick 4-8, Montgomery 9-18, Bingham 5-5, Campbell 1-7. Chestnut Ridge-Bosch 21-124, Mock 26-124, M. Wiley 4-7, T. Wiley 1-2.
PASSING: Bedford-Montgomery 6-13-1-72, Campbell 0-2-0-0. Chestnut Ridge-Bosch 2-8-2-13.
RECEIVING: Bedford-Campbell 3-39, Henry 1-6, Bingham 1-10, Robinette 1-17. Chestnut Ridge-Weyant 1-6, College 1-7.
INTERCEPTIONS: Bedford-D. Arnold, 2. Chestnut Ridge-Crouse.