Keller's three TDs help Ridgefield avenge rare loss to Wilton

RIDGEFIELD — Last season, Wilton defeated Ridgefield for the first time since 1993.

The Ridgefield seniors were determined to not let their high school careers end with two-straight losses to their rivals and came out with intensity from the opening whistle.

Ridgefield wasted little time getting the offense going, scoring on its first three possessions on touchdown passes by Justin Keller en route to a 31-7 defeat of their rivals.

“We knew that last year, that wasn’t Ridgefield. It was tough losing that game and since that day, we knew we had to take care of it,” Keller said. “We expected them to come out in a softer look like St. Joe’s did to us last week but they came out with their normal look and we were kind of able to exploit it really easily and fast.”

Keller connected with Michael Dowd on scoring catches of 31 and 22 yards and with Jude Vucci on a 77-yard strike.

Wilton finally answered with a 1-yard touchdown run by Tanner Schmauch late in the first quarter.

“We’ve known since the spring, this offense was going to be special,” Keller said. “Once they put two over (Dowd) it’s going the other way. We know we got the guys and I am confident in all of them. I am just thankful for the O-Line too. I’ve been sacked like twice this whole season, it’s a great team.”

Wilton’s next drive in the second quarter was promising, but a field goal attempt was blocked and taken back the other way for a 75-yard touchdown by Kruz Meier.

That took any momentum Wilton had gathered and crushed it.

“The first quarter was a nightmare. We had a couple of different coverages and he still picked us apart and we came out as flat as you can in the first half and were not ready to play,” Wilton coach EJ DiNunzio said. “I thought if we scored on that drive and get to 21-14 or 21-10 and have the ball starting the second half, we still had a shot. The big play was the blocked field goal.”

The Tigers capped the first-half scoring with a 33-yard field goal by Cole Montanaro, putting Ridgefield up 31-7 at the break.

“It’s been a weird year for us with the ups and downs and we were anxious to get out here and get after it,” Ridgefield coach Kevin Callahan said. “It was nice to see the offense get out and be efficient. That allowed our defense to play to their strengths and once they had to throw the ball, I felt pretty comfortable about it.”

Ridgefield intercepted four passes with Chris Reinhardt picking off two himself.

Wilton (5-3) has lost three-in-a-row after starting 5-0 but is still alive for a CIAC playoff spot in Class MM

Wilton hosts Warde next Friday at 7 p.m.

Ridgefield (4-3) travels to Trumbull next Friday for a 7 p.m. matchup with the Eagles in a game with big Class LL playoff implications.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Justin Keller, Ridgefield: Keller was locked in from the beginning, spreading the ball around and making precision passes.

QUOTABLE

“Keller was very poised tonight,” Callahan said. “He’s become more of a student of the game. The conversations are more about what does he think as opposed to corrections. He’s really maturing and growing in his role. He was pretty efficient today.”

RIDGEFIELD  31, WILTON 7

WILTON               7  0 0 0 — 7

RIDGEFIELD        21 10 0 0 — 31

R—Michael Dowd 31 pass Justin Keller (Cole Montanaro kick)

R-- Michael Dowd 22 pass Justin Keller (Cole Montanaro kick)

R—Jude Vucci 77 pass Keller (Montanaro kick)

W—Tanner Schmauch 1 run (Michael Wall kick)

R—Kruz Meier 75 yard blocked field goal return (Montanaro kick)

R-- Montanaro 33 field goal