By Matt Smith, Delaware County Daily Times
September 23, 2011
“I saw those records on the Internet my freshman year and I haven’t looked at them since,” Randolph said.
The 6-1, 225-pounder broke the school’s single-game rushing record previously held by his father Friday night in a 27-7 victory over Marple Newtown.
The elder Randolph rushed for 265 yards for Ridley High versus Marple Newtown in 1982. Jalen finished with 270 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries as the Green Raiders rebounded from a heartbreaking loss to Conestoga. His single-game effort ranks 39th in Delaware County history.
“That’s definitely special. … My dad helps me along as much as he can,” Randolph said. “But it’s better that we got the big win tonight coming off the loss. It’s special and it’s definitely something that I’m proud of.”
Randolph was at the forefront of a dominating performance by the Green Raiders. The Green Raiders had struggled mightily to run the ball at times. In a Week 1 come-from-behind triumph over Malvern Prep, they failed to produce positive yardage. They hadn’t played what is known to be “Ridley football.”
The Green Raiders rediscovered their mojo against the Tigers. They kept feeding Randolph the ball and Ridley’s offensive line overwhelmed a Marple Newtown defense that had recorded two shutouts and allowed only seven points through the first three weeks.
“I think the weather in the beginning of the game had a lot to do with what we wanted to do,” coach Dennis Decker said. “We saw some stuff on film that we thought we could take advantage of in the run game. (Coordinator) Chris Bell did a nice job. After what they did last week to Strath Haven, we were a little concerned, but we saw some things and exploited a couple things up front and Jalen was able to take advantage of it.”
Ridley’s offense produced 398 yards. Randolph totaled 293 yards by himself. The rain hindered Ridley’s ability to throw the football, as senior Matt Davis, who came into the game with the most passing yards in the county, completed only 2 of 8 attempts for 28 yards.
It didn’t matter.
“Honestly, this is the first time we’ve played four quarters all year long,” Decker said. “Our offensive line fired off the ball and we executed. When we do that, we’re a pretty good football team. When we don’t, we struggle.”
The Green Raiders did their damage after a scoreless and downright sloppy first quarter. Randolph broke off runs of 38 and 31 in the second period, the latter resulting in the game’s first touchdown.
“The whole game … we did a good job shutting them down,” Randolph said. “Coach (Ralph) Batty had a great game plan on defense and our offensive line, I can’t even tell you how proud I am of them. They fault for every yard this week.”
After halftime, the Green Raiders (3-1, 2-1) continued to rely on Randolph’s rushing ability. They needed only four plays – all handoffs to Randolph – to gain 80 yards and take a 13-0 advantage. Ridley’s lead grew to 20-0 before Cimirrow Moat – shut down for most of the game – took a kickoff 88 yards to put the Tigers on the board.
Randolph had only 177 yards on 45 carries coming into the game.
“We kind of thought they’d give him the ball more,” Tigers coach Ray Gionta said. “We mixed up some of our fronts and we’ve been playing well defensively and they came out and blocked us. This game is about blocking and tackling and we didn’t tackle as well as we had before, but they had a lot to do with that.”
Moat’s touchdown was the lone highlight for Tigers (3-1, 2-1), who mustered only 60 yards of total offense. Moat, who entered the week with 587 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, finished with only 60 yards. Linebacker Shane Dougherty was one of a throng of Ridley defenders that made life miserable for the explosive Moat.
“We are an inexperienced football team,” Gionta said. “Tonight was a learning experience. The speed of the game kicked up a notch from what we’ve experienced in the first three weeks. They’re a good team. They defensed us well and did a great job.
“We couldn’t sustain anything at the line of scrimmage. We didn’t execute well offensively, but they had a lot to do with that the way they played. Ralph’s an excellent coach, Dennis does a nice job and they got a nice team.”