Jordan Ridgeway was selected The Daily Home Player of the Week for his performance in Sylacauga’s 48-10 win over Springville on Friday night.
“I am surprised that I received this honor,” Ridgeway said. “I would like to thank my offensive line and all my teammates. I would like to thank Coach (Matt) Griffith because he believed in me to run the ball.”
Ridgeway had a breakout performance against Springville in the Aggies’ Class 5A, Region 5 opener. The junior running back scored six touchdowns in just over a half. Ridgeway rushed for 213 yards and five TDs (54, 1, 73, 5 and 7 yards) on 17 carries and also caught a 10-yard touchdown pass.
“It was just the line blocking. I was able to find the hole and get into the secondary,” he said. “We always talk about trying knock out first downs, and home runs will come. I was lucky enough to hit a lot of home runs.”
Griffith was pleased with the way Ridgeway performed in the third varsity game of his career.
“That’s what we have been looking for,” Griffith said. “The first game (of the season) was the first time that he ever played our B-back. Those are big shoes to fill around here; we have had some outstanding B-backs here.
“In the first game, he had a really good game, but he didn’t rush for 100 yards. I called him in, and … I told him that our B-backs rush for 100 yard a game. You are going to have to step it up. At Chilton County, he had 145 yards. Against Springville, he exploded and gave us what we were really looking for out of our main back. I am very proud of him.”
Griffith said he wants Ridgeway to continue to improve each week. The veteran coach said he wants to see his bell cow running back get stronger as the game progresses.
“The biggest thing for him is that he has to keep getting better,” Griffith said. “He has to be able to play a complete football game. The shining example around here to me is Alex Thomason, Ian Floyd, Josh Crowe and Demorris Bledsoe. Those guys as the game went on kept getting stronger. In the fourth quarter, they were as strong if not better on their 20th carry as they were on their first.
“That is what we are looking for with him. Keep growing into that position and getting stronger as the game goes on.”
The eighth-ranked Aggies (3-0, 1-0) will travel to take on region foe Moody on Friday night. Sylacauga’s high-powered offense, which averages 41 points per game, will have the tough task of going against a stifling defensive unit that has limited opponents to a combined 40 points this season.
“We are preparing hard for this game because they have a good defense,” Ridgeway said. “Coach Griffith always tells us that they have fast people, and we have to get to the ball, get the call and get ready. We have to go fast.”
Ridgeway, who is also a baseball standout, began playing football in seventh grade. He tries to model his game after New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley. Ridgeway admires Barkley’s ability to make big plays.
“He is so explosive, fast and a powerful running back,” he said.
Other notable performances from Week 2
Alabama School for the Deaf’s Michael Paige returned a kickoff 65 yards for the game-winning touchdown against Jacksonville Christian. He also intercepted a pass and returned it 101 yards for a score.
Sylacauga’s Malik Pope recorded two interceptions against Springville. He averaged 41.5 yards per return.
Talladega’s JQ Wilson had 120 yards receiving in a win over Childersburg. Wilson caught touchdown passes covering 44 and 60 yards. Wilson also rushed for a 6-yard touchdown.