At halftime Friday night, the Ridgefield football team held a slim 14-6 lead over visiting Stamford at Tiger Hollow.
One motivational talk and two quarters later, Ridgefield had a dominant 56-12 victory.
“We didn’t play well at all in the first half,” Ridgefield coach Kevin Callahan said. “Our focus wasn’t good and penalties were killing us. There are only so many second-and-20s and third-and-15s you can overcome. We talked about it at halftime and made some adjustments.”
The Tigers’ turnaround came at the start of the third quarter. Ridgefield (ranked ninth in the latest GameTime CT poll) got the kickoff and went on a drive that culminated in Kai Prohaszka’s 31-yard touchdown run.
Quarterback Owen Matthews then scored on a 2-yard run and the Tigers’ lead was 28-6 with 5:33 left in the third quarter.
“Our execution on offense was much better in the second half,” said Callahan, whose team improved to 6-1 and moved up to fourth place in the Class LL point rankings. “Once we corrected the mistakes we were able to take control of the game.
“Owen [Matthews] was very solid,” Callahan said. “He took a big hit against St. Joseph [a 41-0 loss for the Tigers the previous Saturday] and had to leave the game, but he was medically cleared to come back and played really well.”
After Stamford (3-4) got within 28-12 on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Isaiah Johnson to Tyriq DeVeaux, Ridgefield resumed its domination. Matthews threw a 72-yard TD pass to Owen Gaydos, and Gaydos then intercepted a Stamford pass and raced 35 yards for another score, pushing the Tigers’ lead to 42-12 at the end of the third quarter.
Ridgefield added two more touchdowns in the final period: A 32-yard pass from Matthews to Gaydos and a 45-yard pass from Declan McNamara to Dominic Bonfiglio, a first-year senior wide receiver seeing his first varsity action of the season.
“Stamford has excellent athletes, but we have a better team,” Callahan said. “It took us a little while to start clicking, but once we did we were in good shape.”