As fourth graders last year, Ridgefield lost in the Fairfield County Football League championship game.

The Tigers made it back this season and were able to finish the job.

Behind a superb defensive effort, Ridgefield blanked the New Canaan Red team, 16-0, in the FCFL 5th grade title game last weekend.

The Tigers came out strong, picking up a first down on the second play of the game with a hard-nosed run up the middle by Ian Choi behind center Jackson Laub and linemen Quinn Casey and Madden Forbis.

Chris Colsey then ran for a 59-yard touchdown, leveraging some strong blocks on the offensive line from Dean Gaughran, Jackson Strand and Hunter Morton and a final downfield block by quarterback Connor Chojnacki.

Chojnacki tacked on a two-point conversion kick to extend Ridgefield’s lead to 8-0 early in the first quarter.

The game then settled into a defensive battle and neither team allowed a score for the next two quarters. Grinding runs up the middle by Marcus Speiser, with blocking by Max Fixler, Nate Steinman, Jackson Whitbeck and Gavin Parsons, kept Ridgefield drives alive and ate up the clock.

The entire team contributed to the Tigers’ smothering defensive play. Anchored by Strand, Quinn Casey and Gaughran, the defensive line was in the New Canaan backfield early and often. Defensive ends Owen Lumelleau and Chojnacki contained the edge and disallowed any runners up the sidelines.

New Canaan had even less luck up the middle as linebackers Sonny Barella, Dylan Schorpp, Luke Salimbene, and Nolan Queenan hit runners hard and forced punts all game. Andrew Tebbe, Brady Reinhart, Hunter Hargett, Ben Kelly, and Shane Morton also contributed to the shutout.

Stymied on the ground, New Canaan attempted a high number of passes for this age level. But the Ridgefield secondary was up to the task, spearheaded by Brody Block, Dylan Meyers and Colsey.

It was the secondary coverage that put the game out of reach early in the fourth quarter when Colsey intercepted a New Canaan pass and stutter-stepped more than 30 yards down the sideline, avoiding numerous tackles for a touchdown that was capped by another two-point conversion kick by Chojnacki.