In 2010, Ridley went undefeated in the regular season.
However, there were, according to players, team chemistry issues.
“My sophomore year, it kind of fell apart,” All-Delco linebacker and team captain Shane Dougherty. “That senior core, that was the most talented senior core I’ve ever played with, but they just weren’t a team.”
I remember covering Ridley’s final regular season game that year with Upper Darby. The Green Raiders barely escaped Phil Marion Field with their perfect record intact.
Ridley, the top seed in the District One Class AAAA tournament, lost to No. 16 West Chester Henderson in stunning fashion. To cap off a humiliating ending to what should have been an amazing and memorable season, the Raiders dropped a controversial 6-0 decision to Interboro on Thanksgiving.(Controversial in the sense the Ridley receiver may or may not have ever made it across the goal line for the game-tying score).
Last year, Ridley clearly was the second-best Central League team, at best. Garnet Valley defeated the Green Raiders, both in the regular season and opening round of districts, with relative ease.
“Last year, I don’t think we had it,” Dougherty said.
So, lessons learned for 2012?
“We came so close our sophomore year, but after seeing the team fall apart, we don’t want to be like that,” Dougherty said. “I think all of us, especially us seniors, know what it takes now.”