Ridge nips Falls in overtime

MINERAL RIDGE — Fans who attended the game between Mineral Ridge and Newton Falls got to see an impressive battle of two good defenses and an intense overtime period.

Mineral Ridge defeated the Tigers, 16-15, when Decosta Baptiste scored a two-point conversion after the Rams’ overtime touchdown. Newton Falls (2-1) had the ball first in the extra session and scored when Jacob Wright recovered a fumble in the end zone. The extra point kick gave NF a 15-8 lead.

Ridge (2-1) then got the ball and scored on a 1-yard run by Jacob Lesko. Baptiste’s successful conversion run followed.

“I felt like our defense was rising to the occasion. We kept stopping them and stopping them. I didn’t want to run a risk of us shooting ourselves in the foot,” Mineral Ridge coach Steve Wyllie said. “That’s the first time in my 15 years I’ve been in an overtime game, and we won.

“I told my coaches we were going for it, broke my rule to do it and it worked out. I’m proud of my guys, they kept fighting, and fighting and fighting, and they never gave up.”

Before the exciting overtime period, the defenses dominated the game, causing five turnovers.

The Rams scored early in the game on a 96-yard scoring run by Mike McLean, then Newton Falls countered in the second quarter with a 34-yard pass from Braden Bungard to Colton Hunt. Both teams scored two-point conversions after their TDs, resulting in an 8-8 score after regulation.

Billy Wright finished with 106 yards rushing for Newton Falls and Bungard added 61 yards on the ground, in addition to 52 yards passing.

McLean finished with 132 rushing yards on eight carries for Ridge, and Baptiste ran 20 times for 122 yards.

Newton Falls (2-1) returns home next week to face Rootstown, while Mineral Ridge (2-1) goes on the road to face Lowellville in its inaugural Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference matchup.