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Phillipsburg football locks up win over Ridge by stopping two-point try

Phillipsburg 20, Ridge 13 -- Rapid Recap

At the end of the Phillipsburg High School football team’s game against Ridge on Friday night, the Red Devils took the ultimate roll of the dice.

The Stateliners not only forced an incompletion on a two-point conversion that would have given Ridge a late lead, but they also scored on a fumble recovery for a touchdown on the game’s last play to cap a 20-13 road win in a Big Central Conference Division 5B contest.

Turning point: Phillipsburg led 14-13 for most of the second half and the Red Devils had a late chance to tie the game when they took over at their own 28 with 3:43 remaining. Ridge drove to the Stateliners 33 in just six plays before senior quarterback Mike Olivo connected with junior receiver Patrick McCaffrey on a 33-yard touchdown pass along the home sideline.

The Red Devils lined up to go for the two-point conversion and broke the huddle in a spread formation. After a Phillipsburg timeout, Ridge broke the huddle again with only three down lineman and three receivers to either side of Olivo and fullback Lucas Hudkins.

Phillipsburg elected to take another timeout and the Red Devils lined up with Olivo in a more standard shotgun formation. The senior quarterback then faked a handoff, rolled to his right and fired a low pass to McCaffrey. The junior dove and tried to make the catch with his feet inbounds but the ball appeared to hit the ground and the officials ruled that it was incomplete.

Junior Jayson Garcia recovered an onside kick for the Stateliners, who then ran the ball three straight plays before senior punter Matt Hikade pinned the Red Devils at their own 6 with just 3 seconds left.

Olivo completed a short pass and a number of Red Devils lateraled the ball to try to keep the play alive, but Phillipsburg sophomore Cameron Bohal recovered a fumble and took it 20 yards the other way for a touchdown. Top performers: Quarterback Jakhye McLean scored both of the Stateliners’ offensive touchdowns in the game. The senior’s first pass of the evening was a 24-yard touchdown toss to a wide open Tim Pherson on a play-action rollout.

Toward the end of the first quarter, McLean took a quarterback keeper up the middle for a 40-yard touchdown. McLean finished with 75 rushing yards on just seven carries.

Senior Rai’Quan Dixon shouldered the load on the ground for Phillipsburg, taking 22 carries for 96 yards. Sophomore Caleb Rivera added 33 yards on nine carries.

Senior Tim Pherson intercepted Olivo twice, once in the second quarter and once in the fourth. Senior Mulik Warren recorded the Stateliners’ lone sack and made six tackles, and fellow senior Stephen Gural recorded seven tackles.

What it means: Phillipsburg (3-3) extends its winning streak over the Red Devils to seven. The Stateliners are set to host Capital Preparatory Harbor (Connecticut) next Friday.

Desmond Boyle may be reached at

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