Capital ‘D’ grade-A quality

capital 42, ridgefield 6: Cougars roll, keep high-scoring Spudders in check

Contributing writerNovember 3, 2012 

RIDGEFIELD – It was hardly a surprise that Capital scored a lot of points Friday night.

Score they did, early and often, in a 42-6 victory over Ridgefield in a Class 2A play-in game at muddy Spudder Stadium in this Clark County town.

A little more surprising was the how the Cougars’ defense bottled up Ridgefield’s high-powered offense. The Spudders, the No. 2 seeds from the 2A Greater St. Helens League, averaged 45 points in their six regular-season wins, including three games of 55 or more points.

But Capital (8-2) made the going tough for Ridgefield, which got its only score on a fumble recovery that was returned 32 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Ridgefield turned the ball over seven times. Leading the Capital’s defense was Jakob Racimo, who recovered two fumbles and intercepted a pass.

“We just got after it,” Racimo said. “Everyboody did their job. It’s not just one player, it’s the whole team.”

Capital coach J.D. Johnson said his team persevered on a playing surface that grew worse as the game went on.

“On turf we probably would have looked a lot faster,” he said.

“We were solid, for the most part, in all phases, in some pretty tough conditions.”

Sophomore Conner Kennedy scored two rushing touchdowns, and quarterback Derrick Becker ran for one score and passed for another to lead the Cougars’ attack, which rolled up 400 total yards.

Capital will move on as the No. 3 Southwest Washington seed after wins Friday by Tumwater (No. 1) over Hockinson and Mark Morris (No. 2) over W.F. West.

The Cougars play Lakewood next.

Kai Van Sickle, who rushed for 126 yards to lead the Cougars’ 280-yard rushing attack, carried seven times on Capital’s first possession – a nine-play, 74-yard march capped by Van Sickle with a 26-yard touchdown burst.

Ridgefield fumbled it away in Capital territory on the next series. The Cougars made it pay off on the next play, when Becker ran up the middle and raced to 60-yard TD dash.

On the Spudders’ next series, Racimo came up with a loose ball after a completed Ridgefield pass. The Cougars capitalized on the short field, with Kennedy spinning into the end zone from 5 yards out.

Becker found a wide-open Tad Maiava with a 25-yard scoring pass on the first play of the second quarter to open up a four-touchdown lead.

The Cougars drove to the Ridgefield 2 late in the first half, aided by two personal-foul penalties on the Spudders, but the march stalled. Left-footed senior Joey Geraci, perfect on four first-half extra points and six in all, had a 20-yard field goal blocked.

The signature defensive series for the Cougars came midway through the third quarter. The Spudders, behind the running of Clayton Farr and the passing of Gunnar Long, progressed to the Cougars 8. A sack of Long by 6-foot-4, 255-pound senior Hahn Baylor forced the Spudders into a 4th-and-goal from the 14.

A pass interference call on the next play gave Ridgefield a fresh set of downs at the 7, but after two running plays gained barely a yard, Racimo pounced on his second fumble of the night to end the threat.

Late in the third quarter, Cougars sophomore Ryan Rieta rambled 52 yards to the Ridgefield 2, and carried it into the end zone on the next play as Capital went up 35-0.

The Capital defense rose up again on the Spudders’ next possession, holding on fourth down, which set up a 40-yard touchdown sprint by Kennedy early in the fourth quarter.

Ridgefield got on the board with a defensive touchdown late in the fourth quarter, when Dallas Wells scooped up a Kennedy fumble and returned it 32 yards for the last points of the game.

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