Ridley has managed a huge turnaround after losing its first four games of the season. The team reached its lowest point when it was handed a 63-21 defeat by Radnor on Sept. 14.

"We were really struggling," Ridley coach Dave Wood said. "We've since gotten a lot better in all facets of the game."

The improved Green Raiders have won their last five Central League contests by a combined score of 202-80, and are in position to earn a berth in the 16-team PIAA District 1 Class 6A tournament.

Ridley captains, from left to right, Elijah Yakpasuo, Jake Bakey, and Tom Bramwell.
Courtesy of Ridley
Ridley captains, from left to right, Elijah Yakpasuo, Jake Bakey, and Tom Bramwell.

Ridley (5-4) visits Haverford High (8-1) in a Central League contest at 7 p.m. Friday at A.G. Cornog Stadium.

The Green Raiders are No. 17 in the playoff-point rankings, with an average of 115.56 points.

According to district-playoff projectionist Kyle Berger, Ridley would clinch a berth in the tourney with a victory over the Fords.

"It gives our kids extra motivation to win the game, which is a good thing," said Wood, whose Raiders aim to reverse last season's 13-7 setback to Haverford.

If Ridley loses to the Fords, it's projected that Pennridge (4-5, No. 18 seed, 115.56 average) and host Central Bucks East (5-4, No. 16, 120) would battle for the final playoff spot at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Ridley quarterback Jack Bakey.
Courtesy of Ridley
Ridley quarterback Jack Bakey.

The Green Raiders' midline option offense is spurred by 5-foot-10, 160-pound quarterback Jack Bakey and running backs Elijah Yakpasuo, Dylan Staley, and Hassan Chandler.

The surge up front is led by linemen Thomas Bramwell (6-5, 300), Vaughn Kertis (5-11, 230), and Matt Shiber (6-2, 205).

Ridley's 4-3 defense features end Mike McDonnell, tackle Myles Turner, linebacker Bryce Regan, cornerbacks Yakpasuo and Chandler, and safeties Jack Liberio and Evan Bosak.

Haverford is currently the No. 7 seed, with an average of 147.78, and looking to nail down a first-round home playoff game.

Junior Trey Blair (10) has been a multipurpose threat for Haverford High. He shines as a rusher, receiver, and kick returner.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Junior Trey Blair (10) has been a multipurpose threat for Haverford High. He shines as a rusher, receiver, and kick returner.

The Fords' spread offense is ignited by dual-threat QB Jake Ruane, running back Chase Wint, multipurpose threat Trey Blair, and wide receivers Shane Mosley and Kevin DePrince.

Big challenge

Northeast, with a break before it begins Public League playoff action, hosts juggernaut St. Frances Academy of Baltimore at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

St. Frances, which is 5-0 and has outscored foes by 266-18, is ranked No. 7 in the country in USA Today's most recent top 25.

Northeast coach Phil Gormley (right) talks to an official at halftime of his team’s Thanksgiving Day football game against Central last season.
LOU RABITO / Staff
Northeast coach Phil Gormley (right) talks to an official at halftime of his team’s Thanksgiving Day football game against Central last season.

"We didn't want to be idle this weekend, and we think this will be a good barometer to see how good we are," Gormley said. "I know our kids will come in and play hard."

The Vikings (5-2) are ignited on offense by QB Charles Britt and halfbacks Marlon White, William Lawrence, and Shuayb "Shoes" Brinkley.

On Aug. 24 at the University of Maryland, St. Frances held a 13-7 lead on St. Joseph's Prep in the third quarter when the contest was halted by lightning.

Pick Six

Friday

Ridley (5-4) at No. 11 Haverford High (8-1), 7 p.m. The Fords' Jake Ruane has thrown for 1,562 yards and 15 TDs. Pick: Haverford, 23-14.

No. 15 Academy Park (8-1) at No. 22 Penn Wood (8-1), 7 p.m. The Del-Val League crown is on the line at Kerr Field in Yeadon. Pick: Penn Wood, 27-26.

Pennsbury (5-4) at No. 17 Neshaminy (6-3), 7 p.m. Pennsbury has a 40-39-7 advantage in a series known as the Bucks County Brawl. Pick: Neshaminy, 20-13.

No. 12 Perkiomen Valley (7-2) at No. 14 Pottsgrove (9-0), 7 p.m. The Vikings and Falcons clash for top Pioneer Athletic Conference honors. Pick: Perkiomen Valley, 36-28.

Saturday

Pennridge (4-5) at C.B. East (5-4), 1 p.m. The Rams' Zak Kantor and Patriots' Evan O'Donnell are both solid QBs. Pick: C.B. East, 14-13.

Cardinal O'Hara (6-2) at No. 10 Conwell-Egan (9-0), at Harry S Truman, 7 p.m. O'Hara is focused on slowing 1,372-yard rusher Patrick Garwo. Pick: Conwell-Egan, 30-14.