Eagles face daunting task of stopping Saints’ Ridley|[11/3/06]

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 3, 2006

Watching Steven Ridley on film gives Porters Chapel coach Randy Wright nightmares.

Wright is certainly not alone.

The LSU commit, who also is being coveted by a stream of top college football teams, does everything for Trinity, including, as Wright said with a chuckle, sell popcorn at halftime.

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&#8220He’s the best running back in the state at any level,” Wright said two days before the Eagles (7-3) were set to battle the top-ranked team in Academy-A. &#8220He is strong and one of the fastest guys I have ever seen. He’s 6-1, 230 pounds and runs a 4.3 (second) 40-yard dash.”

Ridley’s stats are mind-boggling.

He’s rushed for nearly 2,000 yards this season, scored 23 rushing touchdowns, has caught a TD and thrown four touchdowns. He’s returned an interception and a fumble for a score and also returned three punts for TDs.

&#8220You can’t shut a guy like that down, we are just hoping to contain him enough to give us a chance to win in the fourth quarter,” Wright said.

The Eagles were able to see a little more of what they expect tonight thanks to an ace-in-the-hole on the PCA coaching staff.

Mark Pierce, who played fullback at the University of Arkansas and arenafootball2, has been simulating Ridley in practices. Pierce didn’t wear pads during the drills, but Wright hopes that having his team see someone with Pierce’s pedigree can do nothing but help.

&#8220We have a little advantage having a guy who played running back in the (pros) on our coaching staff,” Wright said. &#8220It gave our players a taste of the speed they will see Friday night.”

Wright said Ridley will line up as a running back and will get into a shotgun as a quarterback with a threat to pass and run. He is the team’s kicker and punter, as well as returning kicks and punts.

Ridley has carried the Saints (8-1) to the top ranking in Academy A and the No. 8 ranking in all academy classifications. The only blemish to the season came against Central Private, 43-36, in a game in which Ridley ran for 329 yards and four touchdowns.

Porters Chapel’s task of stopping Ridley and the Saints may be even tougher if linebacker Moose Carney cannot play. He has been banged up and will be a game-time decision, Wright said.

The Eagles will open the playoffs next Friday at either Centreville or Central Private, but Wright said that he will not hold back any of his guys for the Trinity game.

&#8220We are going down there to win the game,” Wright said. &#8220If we can go down there and get our fourth straight win going into the playoffs, it would be huge for us.”