Glen Ridge HS football team posts first win of the season

Glen Ridge sophomore John Leone, left, takes a cell phone picture of sophomore teammate Thomas Barton after the Ridgers’ 35-6 victory against Belleville on Monday, Sept. 11, at Hurrell Field. The game was in a lightning delay at halftime when it was officially called. 

GLEN RIDGE, NJ — The game took two days to play, and yet Mother Nature still wouldn’t let them finish it.

But they played long enough to make it an official game, and the Glen Ridge High School football team earned its first win of the season.

The Ridgers defeated Group 4 Belleville, 35-6, in their home opener to improve to 1-2. 

The game began on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 9, at Hurrell Field. But the game was suspended in the first half due to thunder.

The teams came back to Hurrell Field on Monday afternoon, Sept.11, to finish the game.

But again, the game was halted due to thunder. The game was at halftime at the time of the delay. 

Glen Ridge head coach Manj Singh, third from left, and Glen Ridge athletic director Rob Hill, far right, converse with Glen Ridge assistant coaches Chris Ferrara, far left, and Jimmy Romano, second from left, while they wait during the weather delay on Monday, Sept. 11, at Hurrell Field.

After thunder continued, officials from both sides decided to make it an official game. By state rule, teams must wait 20 minutes without any thunder to resume play. While waiting, if another thunder occurs, the clock restarts to another 20-minute wait.

GRHS senior quarterback Dylan O’Neil completed five of seven passes for 89 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Frankie Renois had four carries for 39 rushing yards and fellow senior David Kelly had five carries for 22 yards and one TD.

In the first quarter, Kelly scored on an 11-yard run and freshman James Gist kicked the point-after for a 7-0 lead. O’Neil threw a 20-yard TD pass from senior Morgan Horan, followed by Gist’s point-after, to make it 14-0 in the first quarter.

The Ridgers scored three TDs in the third quarter. Brad Foster returned an interception 90 yards for a TD, senior Griffin Looney scored on a 40-yard pass from O’Neil and Kelly returned an interception 47 yards for a TD. Looney finished with two receptions for 51 yards.

Belleville fell to 0-3.

Indeed, GRHS head coach Manj Singh and his squad are happy to get the win. Both Singh and Belleville head coach Brian Antab said they would have liked to have finished the game, but safety for everyone was more important.

Despite losing to Lenape Valley and Cedar Grove to start the season, the Ridgers have shown a no-quit demeanor, much to Singh’s delight. 

“The team never quits,” Singh said. “We don’t quit. We actually play together as a family, which is a good  thing, so I can see that and we’re getting much better at that.”

The Ridgers have a quick turnaround as they will visit Dumont on Thursday, Sept. 14, at 6 p.m. Dumont, a Group 2 school, is 1-1. Following the game against Dumont, the Ridgers will host Group 4 Tenafly on Saturday, Sept. 23, at noon.

Photos by Joe Ragozzino