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ST. MATTHEWS - The night didn’t start out well for senior Travis Ridley.
His North Bullitt Eagles were driving the ball down the field against the host Waggener Wildcats.
After Ryan Collins got the ball to the 1-yard line, Ridley was poised to score the first touchdown of the game.
As he tried to stretch the ball over the goal line, it was knocked loose and Waggener recovered.
But the two-way starter more than made up for the mistake as North Bullitt defeated Waggener 23-9 on Friday night.
“I felt I let my team down,” said Ridley. “I wanted to do something to make up for it. I had to pick up my team.”
Well, Ridley may have tied a school record as he picked off four Waggener passes, including one for a 55-yard touchdown.
“I knew I needed to provide some senior leadership,” said Ridley. “Coach (Mike) Hall told me they threw to the sidelines and I watched the film on my own and saw it.”
It would be a game that Eagle skipper Brett Newton would call an “ugly win” but it was one the young team needed, especially as district play looms.
After the first-drive fumble, Ridley got the first of his interceptions on a halfback pass that floated into the air.
Four plays later, Zack Reynolds would find himself in the end zone for the first of two touchdown runs. This one came from the 8-yard line. Derek Schweinhart converted the extra point.
After Ridley intercepted his second pass at the Waggener 38, North Bullitt went on its next scoring drive. The nine-play drive culminated in Reynolds’ 5-yard touchdown run.
Schweinhart’s extra point made it 14-0, which would be the score at halftime.
“We should have been up 21 or 28 points going into halftime,” said Newton. “We just didn’t take advantage of our opportunities.”
Waggener got on the board at the 2:45 mark of the third quarter. Dalton Hadley mishandled the snap but the punter wisely knocked the ball out of the end zone for two points.
Brandon Stinson would stop Waggener’s ensuing drive with an interception on a tipped ball at the 2-yard line.
The long Eagle drive stalled when Hadley threw an interception. However, Ridley stopped any Wildcat momentum when he stepped in front of a pass and returned the ball 55 yards for a touchdown with 6:09 left in the game.
“They weren’t going to catch me on that one,” said Ridley.
After another Waggener turnover, Schweinhart converted on his first field goal of the season from 25 yards out with 3:48 remaining.
The host team would score its lone touchdown with 1:38 left as Shazzon Mumphrey scored from the 2. Tim Mattingly converted the extra point.
Despite the lack of a blowout, Newton felt his team was in control the entire contest.
It had been another tough emotional week as two-way starter Taylor Casey was injured in a car accident. The practices throughout the week had been pretty flat, said Newton.
Newton was pleased with the running tandem of Reynolds and Todd Asbury, who accounted for most of the 186 yards on the ground.
Unofficially, Ridley led the attack with 65 yards on 11 carries, while Asbury had 48 yards on 10 attempts and Reynolds had 40 on 11 carries.
He was also pleased that Hadley seemed to find a little more rhythm, although Newton said the junior must do a better job of finding his second and third receivers.
The Eagles were 16 of 31 through the air with just one interception. James Whitfill and Asbury each had four receptions. Six receivers caught passes for the Eagles.
Defensively, Newton was pleased with the containment of quarterback Jonathan Tidwell, who was more of a scrambler. His biggest concern was the athleticism of the Waggener players.
“The defense played very well and we were playing new kids in new positions,” said Newton.
The veteran coach couldn’t say enough good things about Ridley.
“It was a special night,” said Newton. “He’s a special player.”
Next Game: It’s Homecoming night on Friday for North Bullitt. Tates Creek will travel from Lexington to face the Eagles. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. with homecoming festivities at halftime.