AUGUST 23, 2015 LAST UPDATED: SUNDAY, AUGUST 23, 2015, 1:20 AM
BY JIM MCCONVILLE
SPECIAL TO THE RECORD |
RIDGEWOOD – There is a very different feel to the Ridgewood football team as it embarks on the 2015 campaign. The first thing that pops out is the filled-out bodies, especially among the linemen.
There is also a different intensity, one likely borne out of the disappointing way the Maroons ended the 2014 season. After starting 5-0 and outscoring opponents 220-24, they fell prey to their success.
A 35-0 loss to Paramus, a defeat that head coach Chuck Johnson called, “one of the most embarrassing moments in my 30 years here,” started a five-game losing streak.
Senior Mike Kendrick probably said it best when he recalled, “we basically got smacked in the mouth and didn’t react.”
That memory is what drives Kendrick and the rest of the seniors. You can see it in practice, as there is an extra spark to every drill.
“We’re learning from the mistakes of last year,” said Kendrick, the left tackle and only returning starter on the offensive line. “We know we have to be better than last year. We’re watching every film to see where it went wrong and focusing on being better and working on getting stronger to be able to go up against the better linemen.”
Johnson was proud that six of his players bench pressed more than 300 pounds this spring, a sign that the Maroons have bought into the work ethic.
The linemen, offensively and defensively, average an extra 20 pounds per man. How strength translates to blocking schemes is still a big question.