Gatto throws six TDs; Ridgefield routs Stamford (updated)
With senior quarterback Greg Gatto tying a school record, the Ridgefield High football team bounced back from a season-opening loss to Darien in spectacular fashion Friday night, routing host Stamford, 49-0.
Gatto threw six touchdown passes, matching the single-game mark set just last season by Drew Fowler. Five of Gatto's TD passes came in the first half, which ended with the Tigers ahead, 42-0.
Led by senior linebacker Noah Isaacson, the Ridgefield defense was also dominant, continually putting pressure on the Stamford quarterbacks. The visitors got three sacks from defensive end Jason Donovan and intercepted three passes while keeping Stamford scoreless.
"The scoreboard speaks for itself. I thought we were more efficient and we were a better team this week than we were last week [a 38-12 loss to Darien]. We’re headed in the right direction," said head coach Kevin Callahan. "The kids understand they played well tonight; they also understand they’re going to keep getting better every week. We’re going to be competitive in the state, so we’re taking the next step and hopefully we’ll take another step next week."
Ridgefield opened the scoring midway through the first quarter, as Gatto connected with junior Jackson Mitchell on a 32-yard touchdown pass. Gatto's 35-yard touchdown pass to Matt Lombardo increased the Tigers' lead to 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
After Gatto found Jimmy Kulik for a 55-yard scoring pass, sophomore Max Bornstein got his first career varsity touchdown on a 20-yard run to push the lead to 28-0 with three minutes remaining in the first half.
Less than a minute later, Ridgefield was celebrating again. Thomas Formus intercepted a Stamford pass, setting up Gatto's short pass to Mitchell, who dragged two defenders into the end zone for his second touchdown of the night.
With the defense forcing a quick three-and-out on Stamford’s next possession, the Tigers got the ball back and added more points. Gatto hit Kulik on a nine-yard touchdown pass that swelled Ridgefield's halftime lead to 42-0.
Following Evan Wein's interception, the Tigers scored on their first possession of the second half. The touchdown came on Gatto's 25-yard pass to Patrick Moroney.
It would be Gatto’s last play of the night, as he and most of the other starters spent the rest of the game on the sideline, watching the defense close out the shutout.
On tying Fowler's school record, Gatto said: "It’s not what’s important; it’s about getting the win and putting us back to where we need to be. It’s good to see what the offense can do and to prove that we are the team we thought we were and that our play last week wasn’t representative of who we are as a program."
Stamford came closest to scoring on its second drive of the second half, with the Black Knights' run game momentarily finding success. But Isaacson and fellow senior linebacker Alex Cali shut down the threat, and a 22-yard field goal try on fourth down went wide right.
Sophomore Alex Hanna later recorded the first interception of his varsity career to negate Stamford’s final drive of the night.
"I thought we played great," said Cali. "You see that zero on the scoreboard; you saw the defense bringing it every play, all day. It was dominant."