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Ridgewood Pride Persists Despite Championship Football Loss

Ridgewood fans cheer on the football team during the state finals game against Passaic Tech Saturday, Dec. 5 at MetLife Stadium. Photo Credit: Joshua Jongsma
The Ridgewood defense runs after a Passaic Tech ballcarrier in the state football championship game Saturday, Dec. 5 at MetLife Stadium. Photo Credit: Joshua Jongsma

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — Maroon filled MetLife Stadium for the second time in three years Saturday as Ridgewood's football team fell just short of a state championship.

Ridgewood lost 27-0 to Passaic Tech in the North 1, Group 5 finals.

Randall Haycock, whose son plays in the Ridgewood band, said it was still a great experience for the kids.

"In four years to come here twice it was an honor," Haycock said of his son's high school career. "They don't realize how lucky they are. Some schools don't get to make it at all."

Ridgewood ended the year 9-3.

The Bulldogs only led 7-0 at halftime but steadily built their lead while keeping Ridgewood off the board.

Yassir Thomas caught two touchdowns to launch Passaic Tech to the title.

Ridgewood sophomore Jessica Gonzalez said it was fun following the team throughout the year.

"Everyone's in spirit," Gonzalez said. "Everyone's wearing maroon. Some people are wearing facepaint and going all out. It makes it exciting."

Lauren Smith, whose son, Austin, plays for Ridgewood, said her entire family flew from all over the country to see the game. The parents also printed large pictures of the players' faces to hold as signs Saturday.

"They're embarrassed, but we're proud," Smith said.

Passaic Tech ends the year 10-2. The Bulldogs bested Hackensack and Bergen Tech in the playoffs to advance to Saturday's title game.

Sophomore Olivia Guidera said she saw how hard the team worked this year and was happy to see it pay off for Passaic Tech.

"I have an overwhelming amount of pride," she told Daily Voice. "I'm getting emotional."

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