Ridgefield wins defensive battle with Danbury

Photo of Scott Ericson

DANBURY — Ridgefield senior defensive back John McGoey took some friendly flak from his teammates over his career about not having the best hands.

McGoey showed them Wednesday night who had good hands, pulling down the biggest interception of the season and possibly making the best catch anyone on the Tigers roster made all year.

After Danbury had gotten within one score in the third quarter and was driving deep into Tigers’ territory on its next series when McGoey went up and snagged a Hatters pass with one hand on the 9-yard line, halting the hosts’ attempt to tie the game.

Ridgefield held on for the 13-8 win, riding its defense all night.

“Our defense played pretty well all year. Without them, we don’t have any of the success we had,” Ridgefield coach Kevin Callahan said. “It was an up and down year for us and it’s hard to explain. A lot of things this year are hard to explain. It was nice to see them come out here tonight and fight, and this game was a fight. Our defense gave us a chance to win this game. Offensively, we were settling for field goals and not touchdowns and that almost came back to haunt us.”

The loss dropped Danbury to 3-7 while Ridgefield improved to 5-5, snapping a 4-game losing streak.

Ridgefield now leads the Thanksgiving series 15-4, winning 15 of the last 17 meetings.

Danbury was within 13-8 with the ball with under just under 8 minutes to play when it looked for a moment to take the lead on a 34-yard touchdown run by Artez Taft, but a holding penalty negated the play.

Danbury would turn the ball over on downs with 4:08 left and never got the ball back in its hands.

“I have to look at the film, but having that touchdown called back was tough, that was the game winner,” Danbury coach Augie Tieri said. “It seemed to be the story of our season. One call here or one turnover and things have just not fallen right for us.”

Tieri did praise his defense which held Ridgefield to just one touchdown on the first possession of the game.

“Our defense was tremendous and have played well all season,” Tieri said. “Our defensive coordinator Dante Williams has done a tremendous job. They did everything they needed to do tonight to help us win the game. We just couldn’t cash in our opportunities on offense.”

After Danbury fumbled the opening kickoff, it only took Ridgefield four plays to make them pay in the form of an 11-yard touchdown run by Ignacio Brina.

The Tigers would put together a few more drives in the first half but both stalled, resulting in field goals of 28 and 20 yards by Cole Montanaro.

The first play of the second half swung the momentum when Danbury’s Kyle Thomas intercepting a pass and returning it 39 yards for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 13-6.

The next Danbury possession, the Hatters drove down to the 20 before McGoey made his spectacular interception on the 9-yard line.

“The boys came together and we backed our offense when we needed it and we pulled through and got the W,” McGoey said. “We saw that play every day in practice and saw it coming and it fell in my hand.”

The Hatters would get to 13-8 on a tackle in the end zone in the fourth quarter.


John McGoey, Ridgefield Sr. DB: McGoey made the big pick and also broke up a couple other pass plays.


“John is a kid who plays great defense but he just doesn’t have great hands but that was a hell of a catch,” Callahan said. “It’s ironic because he takes a lot of crap for it and he answered the bell tonight. I am really happy for him. Talk about a program kid. He was a backup quarterback when we needed him and would fill in anywhere. He found his home as a defensive back and he found his spot. I am really happy for him, he’s a good kid.”

sericson@stamfordadvocate.com; @EricsonSports


RIDGEFIELD 7 6 0 0— 13

DANBURY 0 0 6 2—8

R—Ignacio Brina 11 run (Cole Montanaro kick)

R—Montanaro 28 field goal

R—Montanaro 20 field goal

D— Kyle Thomas 39 interception return (kick failed)