Aurora CC loses heartbreaker to Ridgewood

Aurora Central Catholic fell victim to the dreaded trap game.

Ridgewood spoiled the Chargers' undefeated season and homecoming and seized control of the Metro Suburban Red Conference race with a thrilling 38-37 victory Friday night in Aurora.

Ridgewood junior wide receiver Marco Vitale caught 17 passes for 295 yards and 4 touchdowns from quarterback Ritchie Zacharius as the Rebels managed to withstand a furious ACC fourth quarter comeback.

"We knew throughout the week that this was a trap game," said Chargers coach John Belskis. "We had a couple kids get hurt last week and we had all the homecoming distractions. Give them credit, they didn't punt tonight."

The Chargers (6-1, 2-1) trailed 38-23 entering the fourth quarter, but Jimmy Laurenti's long kickoff return to the Rebels' 19 set up Griffin Zajac's 5-yard touchdown with 9:38 left.

Johnny Belskis added the 2-point conversion on a quarterback keeper to pull them within 38-31.

With the Rebels facing 4th-and-8 from the Chargers' 47 on their next series, Zajac stepped in front of a Zacharius pass and raced down the left sideline for a touchdown with 6:01 remaining to the delight of the home crowd.

However, the extra point sailed wide and Ridgewood was able to milk most of the clock before giving the ACC possession at its own 6-yard-line with just 53 seconds left.

The Chargers moved out to their own 40, but Belskis was intercepted on the final play of the game. Zajac, who grabbed 6 passes for 113 yards including a 50-yard touchdown, was also injured on the last series and left the field on crutches.

"We thought about going for two, but there were six minutes to go and we had the momentum going," coach Belskis said. "It's just a shame that we didn't convert the extra point, but there were so many other things that happened during the game."

After a scoreless opening quarter, the Rebels (5-2, 3-0) opened up a 25-13 halftime lead as Alex Rice scored twice on the ground and Vitale made touchdown grabs of 57 and 34 yards.

The Rebels took advantage of four and five receiver sets, with Vitale adding TD receptions of 24 and 31 yards in the second half.

"What made it tough is we didn't get any pressure from our defensive line," coach Belskis said. "He just stood back there and when we did get pressure, he just threw it up for grabs and we didn't make any plays on it."

Cerza finished with 123 yards rushing and two scores on 21 carries for the Chargers while Johnny Belskis threw for 162 yards.

"We'll try to end this thing 8-1 and try to get a home playoff game," coach Belskis said. "We'll see how resilient the kids are now."

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