Scavone helps Ridgefield top Staples, 7-0

Ridgefield's Chris Macchia tries to get past a Staples defender during Saturday's game in Norwalk.

Ridgefield's Chris Macchia tries to get past a Staples defender during Saturday's game in Norwalk.

Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

The best journeys are the ones where you can savor every step along the way.

Life is very good for the Ridgefield football team. The Tigers improved to 3-0 on Saturday night by outbattling Staples, 7-0, in a contest played at Norwalk’s Sam Testa Field.

“We’re a confident group,” Ridgefield junior running back Xander Scavone said. “We believe in big moments someone is always ready to stand up.”

Scavone rushed for the final 32 yards on the Tigers’ 11-play, 64-yard drive to open the second half for the game’s lone touchdown, which came on Scavone’s 3-yard run.

A slew of other timely contributions added up to a third consective triumph that kept the Tigers atop the FCIAC East Division.

An interception early by Dean Habeeb and a pair of fourth-quarter picks by Dan Moroney and Habeeb kept Staples (1-2) out of the end zone when a tying touchdown beckoned.

The two-headed rushing attack of Kai Prohaszka (15 carries, 65 yards) and Scavone (10 carries, 64 yards) allowed Ridgefield to control the clock. It also meant that senior quarterback Owen Matthews (14-of- 25 for 72 yards) didn’t need to have a Patrick Mahomes-like performance.

And don’t forget Ridgefield’s rugby-style punter Declan McNamara. The junior launched a number of effective punts and added a key 28-yard run on a fake punt that allowed the Tigers to run off more clock in the fourth quarter.

“McNamara is so versatile,” Ridgefield coach Kevin Callahan said. “He’s a quarterback, a wide receiver and a kicker. He’s a tremendous athlete. The coaching staff decided at halftime if there was a chance to run into Staples’ half of the field (Ridgefield was stalled on its own 48), we’d turn Declan loose.”

Winning a slew of little battles allowed Ridgefield to conquer Staples in a slobberknocker-style war. The Tigers showed last week’s 17-14 win over New Canaan was for real.

Staples was often its own enemy as penalties derailed the offense. Especially painful was a penalty that wrecked a 23-yard screen pass to running back Henry Beck for a late third-quarter TD.

Beck gashed the Ridgefield defense for 154 yards rushing on 16 carries. But the Wreckers are also trying to marry a new quarterback with a big arm, Jackson Zager, and last season’s QB, Jake Thaw, in a change-of-pace wildcat attack.

“Our defense is proud. The kids believe in themselves,” Callahan said. “They are playmakers. When their backs are against the wall, someone always steps up.”