The score was 2-1 Friday. But what seemed to matter more to Ridgewood players was this score: Ridgewood 3, Gulf 0.
Three times this season, Ridgewood faced Gulf, the defending section champions. Three times, the Rams came out on top.
In the Class 3A, District 9 final Friday, and for the third time this season, Tony DelleDonne scored the winning goal against the Bucs. He also scored each time in two 1-0 conquests of Gulf earlier. This time, he scored 1 minute, 36 seconds into the second half.
"We beat them three times," Ridgewood coach Robert Shirmohammad said. "We're definitely the best team. I don't care what anybody says. . . . I really think these guys can be the state champions. I take no credit. These 11 guys deserve all the credit."
Ridgewood (16-3) advances to Tuesday's 3A-Region IV game.
Ridgewood went up 1-0 when Hobby Barndollar headed a perfect corner kick by Jason Thompson.
Gulf (16-6) tied the game four minutes later when Gerald Kehl scored after a Jeff Starkey corner kick. The kick was trapped in the box, but it squirted out and almost stopped dead in front of the unmarked Kehl, who had a chip shot into the goal.