LOYSBURG - With its offensive line controlling the trenches and quarterback Beau Bosch and running back Matt Wiley running wild in the first half Friday night, Chestnut Ridge laid an impressive foundation for the defense of its District 5-8 Class AA football championship.
Wiley, a 6-foot-2, 192-pound junior, rambled for 157 of his 208 rushing yards and scored three of his four touchdowns in the first half, while Bosch, a 6-5, 222-pound senior, gained 95 yards on 13 carries and added another rushing score as Ridge bolted to a 35-7 lead by intermission and cruised to a 55-21 victory over archrival Bedford in the district championship game at Northern Bedford High School's Black Panther Community Stadium.
"We talked about getting out of the gates strong and setting the tone, and our kids kind of bought into that,'' said Ridge coach Max Shoemaker, whose Lions improved to 9-3 and will District 9 champ Karns City in the opening round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs next Friday night in a game that will also be played at Northern Bedford. "Our offensive and defensive lines deserve a lot of credit. They controlled the line of scrimmage. We saw some of that last week [in a 55-20 semifinal victory over Westinghouse]. But tonight, it was even more definitive.''
Ridge scored on all five of its first-half possessions, mounting drives of 79, 39, 66, 29 and 76 yards. Bosch's 44-yard run up the middle set the table on the first drive, which Wiley capped off with an 11-yard run 3:06 into the game.
"We had a great mentality tonight,'' Bosch said. "We came out right away and did what we do, which is run the football.''
After J.D. Weyant blocked a Bedford punt, Ridge took possession on the Bedford 39 later in the first quarter and marched to the end zone in eight plays. Wiley's 7-yard burst off left tackle finished the drive.
"It was just a matter of running to daylight,'' said the bearded Wiley, who rushed for 208 yards on 19 carries in the game. "I have to give credit to our linemen, our scout team, the entire team. I've got to credit the other 10 players on the field with me tonight. We're close. We're like family.''
With Matt Wiley busting through the heart of the field for a 57-yard gain on Ridge's next possession, the Lions went up 21-0 after one quarter following a 6-yard scoring run from junior back Tyler Wiley - Matt's cousin - with six seconds remaining in the opening period.
Senior guard Austin Buttry said that Ridge had a game plan in its blocking schemes, and stuck to that plan.
"We just did what we do,'' he said. "We didn't change anything, and it kept working for us. It's great to know that you're playing with a bunch of guys on the line who will fight and fight, and who are willing to go until the clock runs out.''
Ridge continued its surprising onslaught in the second quarter, when Tanner Colledge's fumble recovery at the Bedford 29 spawned a scoring drive that Bosch wrapped up with a 1-yard sneak into the end zone.
After sophomore quarterback Austin Montgomery's perfectly-thrown 37-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Travis Hickey got Bedford on the board, Ridge responded with a 76-yard drive that Matt Wiley polished off with a 4-yard TD slant off right guard with 2:25 left in the half.
Bedford, which entered the tournament as the second seed, wrapped up an 8-4 season on a decidedly down note, but top-seeded Ridge had a lot to do with that.
"They have a good football team,'' Bedford coach Kevin Steele said of the Lions. "Bosch is good, Wiley is good. And we didn't do much of anything right tonight.''
Bedford had its share of troubles on both sides of the line of scrimmage. In the third quarter, Tyler Wiley returned an intercepted Montgomery pass 78 yards for a touchdown, and junior lineman Jonathon Heming converted another interception into a 32-yard return for a score.
Matt Wiley's 51-yard scoring burst gave Ridge a 55-7 cushion with 5:26 left in the third.
Bedford put up a pair of consolation touchdowns on Montgomery's 1-yard run in the third quarter and junior halfback Jeremiah Bingham's 6-yard run in the fourth.
Now that Ridge has two straight district gold medals to its credit, the Lions will attempt to avenge last season's loss to District 9 champ Karns City in the opening round of the state playoffs. Karns City advanced by defeating Kane, 49-21 in the District 9 title game Friday.
"It feels nice to have [won] multiple district championships, but we owe [Karns City] something,'' Matt Wiley said.
Shoemaker downplayed the vengeance motive.
"We're just happy to be there,'' Shoemaker said. "We'll work our butts off this week in practice, and let the chips fall where they may.''
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bedford 0 7 7 7 - 55
Chestnut Ridge21 14 20 0 - 21
CR-M. Wiley 11 run (Van Meter kick), 8:54.
CR-M. Wiley 8 run (Van Meter kick), 3:00.
CR-T. Wiley 6 run (Van Meter kick), 0:20.
CR-Bosch 1 run (Van Meter kick), 9:22.
B-Hickey 37 pass from Montgomery (Montgomery kick), 5:12.
CR-M. Wiley 4 run (Van Meter kick), 2:25.
CR-T. Wiley 86 interception return (kick failed), 7:45.
CR-Heming 25 interception return (Van Meter kick), 5:56.
CR-M. Wiley 51 run (Van Meter kick), 5:26.
B-Montgomery 1 run (Montgomery kick), 2:20.
B-Bingham 5 run (Montgomery kick), 9:17.
RUSHING: Bedford-Bingham 13-47, Montgomery 10-28, Blevins 5-51, Shaffer 2-3, Cook 2-(-5), Ellingson 3-(-9). Chestnut Ridge-M. Wiley 19-208, Bosch 13-95, T. Wiley 6-27, Lohr 3-0, Bowser 3-8, Grubb 2-0, McGill 4-11, Dunlap 1-5.
PASSING: Bedford-Montgomery 5-13-3-136. Chestnut Ridge-Bosch 1-2-0-12.
RECEIVING: Bedford-Hickey 3-118, Shaffer 1-10, Bingham 1-8. Chestnut Ridge-Colledge 1-12.
INTERCEPTIONS: Bedford-none. Chestnut Ridge-T. Wiley, Heming, Osman.