Big-play offense, stout defense powers Badin past Alter

Ritzie tosses four TD pass as top-ranked Rams improve to 7-0

CENTERVILLE – Coming into Friday’s game against Alter, Badin quarterback Alex Ritzie’s career-high was three touchdown passes in a game. The junior had four in the first half against the Knights.

Displaying big-play capabilities, Badin rode Ritzie’s arm, a potent ground game and its suffocating defense to a 42-14 win over Alter at Centerville Stadium.

The Rams, ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Division III state poll and No. 1 in Division III Region 12 computer points, improve to 7-0 and 2-0 in Greater Catholic League Co-Ed play. Alter drops to 4-3, 1-1.

Since snapping a 22-game losing streak, dating back to 1999, with a 42-7 win over Alter in 2019, the Rams have won five of the last six meetings between the two schools.

“We knew they were going to be in tight coverage and we have a lot of trust in our guys to make plays so we were going to give them shots,” Ritzie said. “My playmakers make plays no one else can. They just get into the end zone.”

“They lock up man and we thought our guys could get some advantages and they did,” Badin head coach Nick Yordy said. “We connected and hit some big plays.”

Badin’s first-half flurry happened in a hurry.

On the first play of the game Badin’s Carter Russo ran 47 yards and on the next snap Ritzie hit Carson Cheek for a 21-yard touchdown pass. The drive lasted 18 seconds.

Badin’s next three scores – a 27-yard pass to Quinn Brennan and 39- and 45-yard passes to Braedyn Moore – capped drives that lasted 1:24, 2:55 and 2:09.

The Rams held a 299-90 edge in offensive yards at half and led 28-7.

“You get against a team of that caliber and you don’t make them drive the ball down the field you make it easy for them,” Alter head coach Ed Domsitz said. “We gave up the big play. We’ve got to do better.”

In the second half, Badin’s Zach Yordy and Russo scored on 1 and 49 yard runs, respectively.

Defensively, Badin’s string of not allowing an opponent to reach 30 points reached 50 games dating back to a 42-35 overtime win over Roger Bacon in 2018.

Badin, which had allowed just 34 points in six games entering Friday, did have a string of three shutouts snapped in the first quarter when Alter’s Gavin Connor connected with Michael Russ for a 9-yard touchdown pass. Connor, a sophomore, left the game with an apparent knee injury in the second quarter and was replaced by freshman Noah Jones. Jones scored on a 16-yard run in the fourth quarter. The Knights were stopped at the 1-yard line on the last play of the game.

“The defense is huge for us,” Ritzie said. “They help us out a ton. We don’t have to score as many points to win as some of these other teams. Our defense is stout everywhere.”

Alter and Badin have met three of the last four years in the playoffs with Alter winning 20-3 in 2020 and 13-0 in 2018. Badin won 38-21 in 2019. There will be no postseason rematch this season as Alter dropped to D-IV. The Knights were fifth in Region 16 computer points entering Friday.

“We’re aware of (the target on our back),” Yordy said. “We don’t talk about it a whole lot, but we know it’s there. It used to be Alter in that situation. We understand and appreciate it. Sometimes pressure can be a good thing. We accept it and we’re going to roll with it.”

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