Tyler Liddy reflects on great Glen Ridge HS athletic career

Photo by Steve Ellmore
Glen Ridge High quarterback Tyler Liddy reacts after executing a play during the 25th annual Paul Robeson High School All-Star Football Classic on June 14 at Paul Robeson Stadium in East Orange.
Photo by Steve Ellmore.
Tyler Liddy sparked the Ridgers boys’ basketball team to back-to-back North 2, Group 1 state title appearances in 2017 and 2018. He finished his career with more than 1,000 points.

GLEN RIDGE, NJ – Glen Ridge High School has a rich sports history, producing numerous conference, county and state championships, thanks to the contributions of talented athletes and coaches.

One of those stellar athletes is recent graduate Tyler Liddy, who starred for the Ridgers football and basketball teams for the past four years.

Liddy’s leadership skills were on display for the past few years as a starting quarterback on the gridiron and a guard on the hardwood. This past school year, he earned First Team honors in the North Jersey Super Football Conference for football and Super Essex Conference-Independence in basketball.

Liddy was the lone GRHS representative in the 25th Paul Robeson HS All-Star Football Classic. He was one of two quarterbacks for the East All-Star team comprising graduated seniors from Essex and Hudson counties. In addition, Duke Mendez, who retired as the GRHS head football coach at the end of the season this past fall after 26 seasons at the helm covering two stints, was among the inductees into the Essex County Football Coaches Hall of Fame during the contest held at Paul Robeson Stadium in East Orange on June 14. The West All-Star team, consisting of graduated seniors from Passaic, Morris and Sussex counties, won the game for the second straight year by a score of 28-0.

Liddy helped the GRHS football team to the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 1 state playoffs for the fifth straight season last fall as he passed for 1,545 yards and 20 touchdowns, completing 133 of 184 passes. The Ridgers finished with a solid 6-4 record after losing to Roselle Park in the quarterfinals to end the season.

“This past football season was really special,” said Liddy, who will continue his football career at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. in the fall.

Liddy, the son of current GRHS Athletic Director and GRHS alumnus Tim Liddy, credited coach Mendez in helping his development as a quarterback. Mendez, in addition to being the head coach, served as Liddy’s quarterbacks coach in his first three years.

“I spent a lot of time at practice with him, and (learned) the things he taught me,” Tyler Liddy said of Mendez. “I just knew that he would teach me and if I did something wrong, I would know. But he knew that I was able to do some stuff on the field and had more of an IQ than others.”

To think, Liddy wasn’t even sure that he was good enough to be a quarterback when he came to GRHS. In the summer leading up to his freshman year, Liddy attended some 7-on-7 games with the team, but admitted he didn’t think he had the arm strength or was big enough to play quarterback. But he tried it out and the rest is history.

But to Liddy, playing basketball was just as enjoyable as playing football. In fact, his favorite memory was his junior season playing for the basketball team, guided by head coach Liam Carr, who is also a GRHS alumnus. In that 2016-17 season, Liddy helped the top-seeded Ridgers advance to the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 1 state tournament championship game against seventh-seeded University. In front of a packed gym at GRHS, the Ridgers lost a devastating 53-51 decision on a buzzer-beating layup to finish with a 23-6 record. The Ridgers were looking to win their first sectional title since 1988. Incidentally, Tim Liddy was a key senior player on that 1988 team.

“We knew the year before, there were no seniors,” said Tyler Liddy of the 2016-17 season. “We had just sophomores and juniors, and we put in a lot of work in the summer. We went to a bunch of camps and played against a lot of teams. When the season started, we realized that we could do something and we just believed in each other. We had some tough times in January, but we managed to get through it and we made it that far, which was special, because the whole town came out. The gym was just sold out.”

This past winter, the Ridgers enjoyed another great basketball season. Liddy eclipsed 1,000 points for his career during the season, achieving the milestone in a Feb. 13 win over Weequahic. He also helped the Ridgers win the SEC-Independence Division regular-season title. Despite losing senior Avery Hackett in the middle of the season, the second-seeded Ridgers avenged last year’s title game loss by beating sixth-seeded University in the semifinals to reach the sectional title game for the second straight year. Unfortunately, they fell at top-seeded Bloomfield Tech, 43-38, in the final to finish with a 21-8 record. Liddy finished his career with 1,073 points.

With his high school career complete, Liddy is now looking forward to attending college. When he visited St. Lawrence in January, he was impressed by the facilities and campus, along with the academics. Liddy, who will continue to play quarterback, is excited to start his college football career.

“It’s going to be a learning year, probably, but hopefully I can go in there and work hard and impress the coaches,” said Liddy, whose favorite football team is the New York Giants. His favorite basketball team is Duke.

Indeed, Liddy will always cherish his memories at GRHS, especially the family-like atmosphere.

“I think that if you are on a sports team, you get to be closer (with your peers). When you’re walking in the halls, you know everyone. We’re like a family. There’s a lot of memories you create with them.”