Since losing its season opener in blowout fashion, the Cosumnes Oaks Wolfpack have made it a point to be fully engaged and ready to go from the opening kickoff during each of their last five games. That remained true during their 45-16 victory against Pleasant Grove inside Sheldon-Pleasant Grove Community Stadium this past Friday night in the Eagles’ homecoming game.
On the very first play from scrimmage, Wolfpack junior running back Christian Ridgway took the handoff up the left sideline for a 62-yard score, taking the air out of the home side of the stadium as Eagles fans were left speechless. That play would be a microcosm of the contest, as Ridgway would add two more scoring runs during the game, including a 74-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He would finish the game with 17 carries for 178 yards and three touchdowns, leading Cosumnes Oaks (5-1 overall, 2-0 Delta League) to the huge Delta League victory.
“It made me really pumped up,” Ridgway said of his opening-play scamper. “To start like that from the get-go, it was really positive.”
Wolfpack head coach Andrew Bettencourt was very complimentary of his workhorse tailback’s performance against the Eagles.
“He’s probably one of the most selfless players I’ve ever met,” Bettencourt said of Ridgway. “A phenomenal kid. He’s shared his reps with other players who have had multiple 100-yard games, and he’s the first to say let someone else run it if he’s not having a good night. But tonight was his night. He’s everything you want in a football player.”
Ridgway would score all three of his touchdowns in the first half, but was not the lone contributor on offense for Cosumnes Oaks. Junior quarterback Anthony Grisby Jr. finished 9-of-14 passing for 157 yards and a touchdown that went for 50 yards to junior receiver/cornerback Ishmael Rehberg in the fourth quarter. Rehberg, who tallied seven receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown, outshined his own offensive performance with his play at cornerback, snagging two interceptions and returning one for a touchdown. Senior linebacker Justin Thibeaux-Smith also returned an interception 55 yards for a score in the fourth quarter for the Wolfpack.
For Pleasant Grove (4-1 overall, 1-1 Delta League), the game never really had a chance to get going. Senior quarterback Nathan Valencia lost a fumble on the Eagles’ first possession, then tossed an interception to Rehberg that was returned for the score later in the quarter before being taken out of the game due to injury. Senior Jacob Couchot tried his best to rally the Eagles as he scored on a one-yard QB sneak in the third quarter and also tossed a 55 yard touchdown to Eagles’ junior wideout Elijah Gula on the final play of the game, but the damage had already been done.
The Eagles did have some players step up defensively. Junior linebacker Ben Pernetti registered two sacks on the night, and was joined by junior Bodie Pfeiffer and senior Jack O’Connor, who also recorded one sack apiece.
Pleasant Grove head coach Matt Costa declined to comment on his team’s performance afterward.
For Cosumnes Oaks, the win is their fifth in a row and second in the Delta League, but Bettencourt is choosing to look at things from the typical one-game-at-a-time approach.
“It’s always good to come out and get a league win,” he said. “Especially against a quality opponent. They (Pleasant Grove) are physical, they’re big, and they have a very talented quarterback. Unfortunately he got hurt and it changed the game a little bit. But like I keep saying to these guys, every win means the same thing, just need to keep knocking them down one by one. This was no different than the last four.”
This Friday Pleasant Grove will travel to Elk Grove to take on the Thundering Herd, with kickoff set for 7:15 p.m. Meanwhile, Cosumnes Oaks will take their talents to Jesuit on Saturday to take on the Marauders, with the game scheduled for 2 p.m.