SADDLE BROOK — The smiles. The hugs. The group photos.
The Park Ridge players knew they had just won their biggest game in years Saturday against Saddle Brook, and they needed to revel in the moment. But the Owls also were wise enough to know that big games will be the order of the day from here on in now that they’re 4-0 for the first time since 2002, and sitting atop the NJIC Meadowlands Division.
“This is huge,” coach Tom Curry Jr. said after the Owls came away with a 24-15 victory over the Falcons, No. 16 in The Record public school Top 20. “This was one of the best wins we’ve had in a long time, but this is still just Week 4. There’s still a lot to do.”
Park Ridge got its usual gutsy effort from senior quarterback Evan Matthews, but it was the Owls’ defense that wound up as the major difference-maker. The Falcons (3-1) went 85 yards on 12 plays to score a touchdown on the opening drive, but struggled to duplicate that success the rest of the way.
“We went out there and gave our all in the mud,” junior defensive lineman Mitchell Abraham said. “We went out there with fire, and decided we had to win this game.”
Junior defensive lineman Michael Venice and senior Glen Hafemeister also stood out as the Owls found a way to put the brakes on an offense that scored 87 points in the first three games.
“Our defense was unbelievable,” Curry said. “They really stepped up and took them out of what they like to do.”
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