In its first game of the 2016 season, the Ridgefield High football team pulled off a comeback for the ages.
Scoring 29 unanswered points in the final 12 minutes and 33 seconds, Ridgefield stunned Trumbull, 46-33, on Friday night at Tiger Hollow.
“This is an experienced team and we clearly have a lot of firepower; we can do some really good things,” said Ridgefield head coach Kevin Callahan. “They’re (Trumbull) a lot like us. They’re a very good team. But we hadn’t played well [in the first half]. It was a matter of settling down and being the team we believe we are.”
Senior quarterback Drew Fowler led the rally, throwing for three touchdown passes and running for another in just over a quarter.
Trailing 27-10 at halftime, Ridgefield got a jolt of momentum when Fowler connected with Shane Palmer on a 15-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter. But Trumbull had a swift reply, as Markese Woods broke free for a 72-yard scoring run to put the visitors ahead, 33-17, with 9:44 left in the third quarter.
The Tigers began their comeback when Fowler scored on a one-yard run with 33 seconds to go in the third quarter. The touchdown, set up by a 32-yard pass from Fowler to Chris Longo, was followed by a two-point conversion pass to Palmer that sliced Trumbull’s lead to 33-25 entering the fourth quarter.
Ridgefield got even closer when Fowler hit Collin Lowe on a 35-yard touchdown pass down the left side. The two-point try failed, but the Tigers were within 33-31 with 10:21 to play.
Luke Gaydos then intercepted a Trumbull pass and bolted more than 50 yards for an apparent touchdown, but the score was negated by an illegal block on the return, giving the Tigers the ball at the Trumbull 40-yard line. A few plays later, though, Ridgefield had its go-ahead score: Palmer’s 30-yard touchdown after catching Fowler’s pass on a crossing route. Fowler then found Lowe for a two-point conversion pass, putting the Tigers in front, 39-33, with 4:23 remaining.
Trumbull’s ensuing possession ended when Ridgefield linebacker Patrick Lang batted down a pass on a fourth-down play. The knockout punch followed, as Fowler and Lowe teamed for a 39-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline. Petros Papadopoulos added the extra point, extending the Tigers’ lead to 46-33 with 2:56 left in the game.
When Trumbull’s next possession was derailed by Matt Lombardo’s interception, Ridgefield’s improbable rally became reality.
Notes: Ridgefield’s first-half points came on Lang’s one-yard TD run and Papadopoulos’s 38-yard field goal.
Press Sports Reporter Rich Kaufman contributed reporting to this story.