Just two years ago, Ridgewood football was winless, now the Spartans are playing for their first state championship since 2005.

“Really we just grew up as a team a lot more. We had a lot of guys who were young and were thrown in to spots,” offensive lineman Malcolm Secymore said. “Now we’ve all grown up a bit and gained more experience.

“Just working as a team. Being in the weight room,” offensive lineman Connor Helms said. “Coming together builds character and all that.”

Trying to give a direction as far as what we want to do. How were doing it and emphasizing complimentary football,” head coach Patrick Elder said. “Understanding that all the pieces fit together. Offense, defense, special teams. How they all feed off each other and our kids have done a good job of that.”

Head coach Patrick Elder has been a huge part of Ridgewood’s success getting his players to gravitate around the message of being a good teammate.

“Definitely Coach Elder,” Helms said. “He’s our dad per say and bring us all together as one.”

“Definitely his leadership and has done a great job of getting everyone to play for one goal,” Secymore said. “Getting everyone to come together as a team.

“A few of them our just football junkies and you don’t have that a lot anymore,” Elder said. “They enjoy coming out here and want to learn. We talked about when the playoffs started, the teams we will continue to play will get better and we’ve done that over the last month.”

That growth has made the Spartans a different team then when playing Amboy earlier this season.

“Both sides we do a lot of things very similar offensively and defensively” Secymore said. “It was a close game the first time and we want it to be the same again just win this time.”

“Were working way more as a team then we were eight weeks ago,” Helms said. “Our momentum is more on the same page then it was back then.”

“We’re more cohesive and understand how it all fits together,” Elder said. “We’ve improved on both sides of the ball and we hope we’ve improved enough to put us over the top.”

Ridgewood looks to be at the top lifting that eight man trophy Friday night at Monmouth College. Kick-off at 7 P.M.