WESTPORT — Ridgefield has ridden the arm of senior quarterback Greg Gatto all season long and on the road against a strong Staples team — the Tigers did just that.
Gatto, who finished 25-45 for 349 yards two touchdowns and one rushing score, fought through a pair of interceptions — including one in the end zone — to lead the Tigers to a thrilling comeback win over Staples 24-20.
“I do like the idea that he came back,” Ridgefield coach Kevin Callahan said. “He took his role as a leader and didn’t just shy away from it.”
After jumping out to an early 17 point lead, the Tigers offense was rolling behind Gatto as the Ridgefield defense causes fits for Staples quarterback Danny Thompson.
But Thompson battled despite the poor start and following a 46 yard pitch and catch to Kevin Rabacs — Harris Levi got the Wreckers on the board with a four yard touchdown run.
The Wreckers swung momentum in their favor after a trick play, double reverse pass from Thompson to Rabacs for an 80 yard score put Staples back into the game.
“We’ve had that play in since the beginning of summer,” Thompson said. “We’ve been saving it. It got a little messed up, but it worked in the end.”
Thompson finished the game with 13-for-21 for 255 and a touchdown.
But the moment belonged to Gatto and the Tigers. After throwing his second interception of the game, the senior led the Ridgefield offense in the two-minute drill before hitting Luke Gaydos from three yards out for the game-winning score.
“We definitely know we’re never out of it and that we’re always a play away,” Gatto said. “We just stuck to the process and made sure to take it one play at a time and we just made plays.”
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN …
Staples doesn’t have time to lick its wounds after this game. The Wreckers play host to No.1 Darien next week at home with the Blue Wave still atop of the FCIAC and state rankings
Ridgefield receiver Luke Gaydos returned to the lineup in a big way with five catches for 34 yards and the game winning touchdown.
“It was just awesome to see how resilient we can be as a team and when everything isn’t going right, we just bounced back and made plays.” — Ridgefield senior quarterback Greg Gatto
RIDGEFIELD 24, STAPLES 20
RIDGEFIELD 17 0 0 7—24
STAPLES 0 13 7 0—20
R— Harry Woodger 26 kick
R—Greg Gatto 4 pass Jackson Mitchell (Woodger kick)
R—Gatto 3 run (Woodger kick)
S—Harris Levi 4 run (kick failed)
S—Danny Thompson 80 pass Kevin Rabacs (Ben Van Der Mwere kick)
S — Levi 10 run (Van Der Mwere kick)
R — Gatto 3 pass Luke Gaydos (Woodger kick)
Records: Staples 3-1, Ridgefield 3-1.