WEST LAFAYETTE – It’s been a tough last few seasons for the Ridgewood football team.
After nine straight postseason appearances from 2003-11, the Generals finished 6-4 and 5-5, respectively, in 2012 and 2013 to miss out on a playoff spot.
However, Ridgewood (9-1) has returned as the No. 5 seed in Region 21, set to travel to No. 4 seed Centerburg (8-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“It felt for a while like we were always practicing during this week,” Generals coach John Slusser said. “So after missing out the last two years, it feels good to be back this year.”
The Trojans are out of the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference, making their second straight playoff appearance and fourth in school history. Last season as the No. 3 seed, they lost 15-9 to No. 6 seed Monroe Central.
A lot of the Trojan offense — which has averaged just over 38 points per game — centers around quarterback John Rings, who will likely become the first player in school history to throw and pass for 1,000 yards in a single season.
Rings is 100-of-176 for 1,334 yards and 13 touchdowns to just six interceptions. He has also carried the ball 119 times for 989 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Ridgewood coach John Slusser believes Rings and his skill players will be tough to corral defensively, but also feels the Trojans present a unique challenge with their style of offense.
“They will try to trick us up with some different gimmicks and formations,” he said. “We will have to be mentally and physically ready for a lot of different things.”
Generals lineman Blake Feldner hasn’t seen anything like what Centerburg brings to the table, but knows the team will be ready come Friday.
“We’ve been watching a lot of film and trying to learn as much as we can about what they do,” he said. “They are tall and athletic up front, but I feel like our line can handle them in the trenches.”
Slusser feels both teams should go into Friday with the same mindset on each side of the ball.
“Offensively, it will all depend on how each team’s offensive line plays,” he said. “Defensively, it’s the type of game where it could come down to who limits the big plays from each other.”
Ridgewood senior running back Zach Donley is confident about things heading into their Week 11 matchup.
“I feel really good about how we are playing,” he said. “I think it will be a tough game, but I feel like we will do fine.”