Keller's dual performance leads Ridgefield football past No. 8 Xavier

RIDGEFIELD — Last week, Ridgefield played tight and didn’t show up until the fourth quarter, scoring 20 points, but the comeback fell short to 4th-ranked Greenwich.

This week, the Tigers came out a bit looser and used the momentum they built last week, scoring the first three touchdowns to beat No. 8 Xavier 28-7 on Friday night.  

No player played more relaxed than Ridgefield quarterback Justin Keller.

The junior threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another — all in the first half — in the win.

“He learned how to play free and loose and yet still stay in the parameters of the game and I think that is where he thrives,” Ridgefield coach Kevin Callahan said.

“He’s a real problem (for defenses),” Callahan added

His rushing touchdown was from 25 yards out and came with 11 seconds left in the first half, giving the Tigers a three-score lead.

“That was a fun one, huge momentum for us,” Keller said. “That got everyone even more locked in.

“That’s the eighth ranked team in the state, huge credit to them. That’s a good football team and that (touchdown) gave us the confidence to come out and finish it,” Keller added.

While the Ridgefield offense was scoring, the Xavier offense didn’t get going. Plagued by dropped passes and defenders in the backfield, Xavier struggled.

“(It’s) nothing that we hadn’t seen on film,” Xavier coach Andy Guyon said. “They’re a good team, they executed better than we did, that’s what it boils down to. They made the plays they had to make and we couldn’t.”

With a 21-0 lead the Tigers’ defense wasn’t satisfied.

Ridgefield held strong, making tackles in the backfield and locking down the Falcons receivers. 

With Xavier threatening to score late in the game, Ridgefield senior Maxwell Butler was having none of it.

Butler had two sacks — one that forced a fumble Xavier recovered — before the defense forced a turnover on downs. 

“We just knew we had to execute,” Butler said. “We had to play like we were down.”
Xavier quarterback Drew Kron scored the lone touchdown for the Falcons, a 14-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Justin Keller, Ridgefield, Jr,, QB: Keller threw two touchdowns and rushed for another, while extending plays with his legs all night. 

QUOTABLE

“Huge credit to the offensive line tonight. I got once sacked once, which was probably my fault.” — Justin Keller, Ridgefield quarterback.

RIDGEFIELD 28, No. 8 XAVIER 7

Ridgefield 7 14 0 7 — 28
Xavier 0 0  7 0 — 7

R — Maxwell Butler 4 yard pass from Justin Keller (Ignacio Brina kick)
R — Jude Vucci 29 yard pass from Keller (Brina kick)
R — 25 yard run by Keller (Brina kick)
R — Kai Kuwata 2 yard run (Brina kick)
X — 14 yard run by Drew Kron (Ethan Belzek kick)

Records: Ridgefield 1-1, Xavier 2-1