No.1 Ridgewood beats No. 2 Bergen Catholic, 9-4 by Sean Farrell of The Record

RIDGEWOOD – This is the game Jack Barclay lives for.

Ridgewood vs. Bergen Catholic.

It’s the rivalry he considers second to none.

It’s the reason the Maroons can now call themselves second to none as well.

Barclay’s hat trick gave No. 1 Ridgewood a 9-4 win over No. 2 Bergen Catholic on Tuesday in a regular season battle of lacrosse heavyweights. He produced the game-winning goal with 11:15 left in the game to give the Maroons bragging rights to be Bergen County’s top team.

“I think we are,” Barclay said. “The only team that can beat us is ourselves really. If we just play our game, I think we’re all set.”

“We believe we are [No. 1],” senior Dylan Peabody said. “We have aspirations to win the county like we did last year. That’s never going to change. We’re always going to hold ourselves to that standard.”

The Gibbs division rivals, who are the last two Bergen County champions, spent most of the game even on the scoreboard. They were separated by just three goals in two contests back in 2016, and appeared to be heading in a similar direction.

But Ridgewood (4-3) finally pulled away in the fourth quarter.

The Maroons didn’t allow a goal for nearly 21 minutes to end the game.

And their offense broke out with three goals in the span of 57 seconds. A 5-0 run turned an even game into a decisive victory.

With every goal, the celebrations on the field and on the sidelines became bigger.

With every minute, the crowd at Ridgewood got a little bit louder.

“After each goal, hearing the crowd and hearing the sidelines, I just got refueled,” senior Wylie Sherman said. “I felt like I could go forever.”

Quin Peene added a pair of goals for Ridgewood. Peabody, Sherman, Danny Gioia, and Jack Kiernan had the others.

The win came at a pivotal point for Ridgewood, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

“Every game we go into, we know we have a good chance to win,” Barclay said. “So we just came out today confident. When this group is confident, I don’t think there are many teams that can stop us.”

Barclay is taking more of an offensive role this spring, after spending last season as a defensive midfielder.

The Lehigh-bound junior gave the Maroons a spark from the start of the day.

After entering the game with just five goals, he nearly doubled his output.

“We always knew he could shoot the ball,” Sherman said. “He really showed that over the summer in the preseason. I’m really happy that it showed today.”

“He’s just a big physical guy,” Peabody said. “When he gets his hand free, his shot is better than most people I know. You saw that when they gave him time, he stuck it in the corner. That’s what he does.”

Barclay scored the go-ahead goal by launching the ball just underneath the top right crossbar, then celebrated with a teammate by jumping high off the turf.

This clearly wasn’t just any victory.

Said Barclay, “When they come to our home field, there’s no one we want to beat more than them.”