BEDFORD - At the beginning of its senior night game against Chestnut Ridge Friday evening, the Bedford football team looked dominant. The Bisons took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, slowly but surely, making it all the way down to first-and goal at the 4-yard-line.
But then it was the Lions' turn to step up.
Ridge turned Bedford away twice from the 1-yard-line for a goal line stand that whipped the Lions' faithful into a frenzy. The stop meant that a 74-yard, 17-play, eight minute drive garnered the Bisons no points.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Bedford quarterback Austin Montgomery attempts to score on a keeper on fourth down, but Ridge’s defense holds. To view more photos, go to cu.altoonamirror.com.
On Ridge's second play from deep in its own territory, running back Matt Wiley broke free for a 70-yard scamper that he finished off with a 1-yard touchdown dive a few plays later.
Though Bedford pulled within a touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Lions never surrendered the lead, coming away with a 27-21 victory over their arch-rivals at Bison Stadium.
The win also gave Ridge (7-3) the number one seed going into the District 5, Class AA playoffs, which begin next week.
"It's a big win," said Lions coach Max Shoemaker. "I'm just really happy for the kids. We're still not the team that I think we can become but tonight we made enough plays. ... [The goal line stand] "
The Bisons (7-3) came into the game averaging 30 points and more than 200 yards rushing per game. But Ridge's defense put the clamps on Bedford's attack, holding the home team to just 62 total yards in the first half and only 97 yards rushing for the game. At one point, the Bisons went without a first down for more than 20 minutes of game time.
"We did not do a whole lot of things well offensively and we didn't tackle well defensively," Bedford coach Kevin Steele said. "I don't think we moved the ball well out of the first drive there. I thought their kids controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. I thought that was the key to the game."
The only offensive bright spot for the Bisons was sophomore quarterback Austin Montgomery, who threw for 138 yards and ran for two scores. However, Montgomery was constantly hurried, went just 9-for-23 through the air with one interception and was tackled for loss five times.
"I expected our kids to be a little more aggressive up front and be able to control the line of scrimmage better," Steele said. "That didn't happen tonight but we'll go back to work and try to get a whole lot better."
While the Ridge defense was leading the way, its offense was putting on a good show of its own. The Lions got 300 combined yards rushing from Wiley (147 yards) and quarterback Beau Bosch (153 yards), who also tallied three touchdowns on the ground.
Bosch's last touchdown run was his most important. Ridge was up 21-14 with a minute and a half remaining in the game and Bedford was gaining momentum. The Lions found themselves at fourth-and-4 at their own 20-yard-line. The 6-foot-5 Bosch swept left on a keeper, ran right over a defender at the line of scrimmage and took it to the house.
"[Bosch] and Wiley have been our workhorses all year," Shoemaker said. "You go to your workhorses when you need them. Tonight we needed them and they stepped up."
As the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, Ridge will host Westinghouse, a team out of Pittsburgh, next week in New Paris, while No. 2 seed Bedford will get a visit from Everett.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Chestnut Ridge7 7 7 6 - 27
Bedford0 0 7 14 - 21
CR-M. Wiley 1 run (Vanmeter kick), :13.
CR-Bosch 2 run (Vanmeter kick), 8:28.
B-Cook 1 run (Montgomery kick), 5:42.
CR-Bosch 7 run (Vanmeter kick), :31.
B-Montgomery 14 run (Montgomery kick), 6:50.
CR-Bosch 20 run (kick failed), 1:25.
B-Montgomery 6 run (Montgomery kick), :38
RUSHING: Chestnut Ridge-M. Wiley 19-147, Bosch 25-153, T. Wiley 3-11, Lohr 1-2, Bowser 1-1, TEAM 1-(-2). Bedford-Bingham 15-73, Montgomery 12-10, Shaffer 5-24, Cook 2-0, Downs 1-2, TEAM 1-(-12).
PASSING: Chestnut Ridge-Bosch 3-4-0-13. Bedford-Montgomery 9-23-1-138.
RECEIVING: Chestnut Ridge-College 1-12, Lohr 1-2, Crouse 1-(-1). Bedford-Shaffer 3-38, Bingham 1-7, Hickey 3-47, Downs 1-26, Cook 1-18.
INTERCEPTIONS: Chestnut Ridge-T. WIley, 1. Bedford-None.