Ridgefield wears down Trumbull in 21-7 victory

TRUMBULL -- After spending the first half of Friday night's game against Trumbull committing costly penalties and going nowhere on offense, Ridgefield coach Kevin Callahan made a couple of adjustments at halftime, including a major one to his team's mindset.

With a renewed commitment toward winning the battles up front, the Tigers used the bruising running of Charles Gravitte and Drew Arcoleo to steamroll the Eagles 21-7 in an FCIAC battle at McDougall Stadium.

"They did some nice things to us in the first half and we had trouble getting on board offensively," Callahan said. "It looked pretty dismal, but we showed a lot of character and rose to the challenge in the second half."

After managing only 54 total yards in the first half and starting the third quarter with a 7-0 deficit, Ridgefield's Gravitte and Arcoleo took turns gashing the Trumbull defense on a nine-play, 65-yard scoring drive.

Arcoleo swept around left end from 12 yards out to tie the game with 7:36 left in the third quarter.

After an exchange of punts, the Eagles would then make the mistake that would put them behind for the first time in the game.

On second down, quarterback Mike Romano was chased out of the pocket and fired a pass before crashing out of bounds. The ball ended up in the hands of defensive back Jimmy Houser, setting the Tigers up at the Trumbull 22 with 25 seconds left in the third quarter.

Two runs and a procedure penalty would leave Ridgefield with a third-and-nine at the 21 and lead to Griffin McCarty's first and only pass completion of the night, a 10-yard strike to Bo McCarty for a first down at the 11.

Gravitte (13 carries, 91 yards) plowed into the end zone on the next play and the extra point made it 14-7 with 10:01 left in the game.

"We have a very capable quarterback, but we're just not going to open things up at this point in the season," Callahan said. "We run the ball, it's who we are."

Arcoleo (17 carries for 132 yards) would add a 44-yard touchdown with 2:10 left, but the defense had things well in hand, allowing only 43 second half yards and three first downs, while intercepting two passes.

"They wore us down," Trumbull coach Bob Maffei said. "And when we made mistakes, they took advantage."

Romano completed 10 of 21 passes for 116 yards and three interceptions, but most of the positive plays were in the first half, including his perfect 7-yard scoring pass into the hands of a leaping Jake Sippel.

The victory was the fifth straight for the Tigers and raised their record to 7-1, the only blemish being a 30-0 loss to Staples in Week 3.

"People have been critical of our schedule and with them coming in at 5-2 and us at 6-1, we knew this was big for us," Callahan said. "It took a little longer than I would have liked, but we finished the game strong."

RIDGEFIELD0 0 7 14--21

TRUMBULL 0 7 0 0--7

T--Jake Sippel 7 pass Mike Romano (Anthony Matera kick)

R--Drew Arcoleo 12 run (Sean Cobelli kick)

R--Charles Gravitte 11 run (Cobelli kick)

R--Arcoleo 44 run (Cobelli kick)

Records: Ridgefield 7-1, Trumbull 5-3.