Aloha for Ridge: Elk Grove football star Ian Ridge invited to Tiki Bowl
A trip to Hawaii around the holidays sounds pretty good, and Ian Ridge got his official invitation for beachy, sunshine bliss on Wednesday.
Now all he's got to do is hope that the COVID-19 pandemic stops wreaking havoc on the travel industry and that he can raise enough funds in the next seven months to pay for his trip to the Aloha State.
Ridge, a star running back at Elk Grove who will be a senior next year, found out that he has earned the opportunity to be a part of the 2020 Hawaii Tiki Bowl in Honolulu, a senior all-star game in its tenth year that involves 70 top seniors from around the country.
Players must pay for transportation to Hawaii and lodging while there, and most set up GoFundMe pages to fundraise the estimated $3,000 in expenses.
The event runs from December 30 to January 5 and Ridge would like to be able to go with his parents, Jill and Devin.
"I've never been to Hawaii and it's crazy to think that I might be able to go and then play football there, too," Ridge said. "I can't wait for the opportunity. It's such an honor. I just hope that it happens."
Ridge believes the Tiki Bowl selection committee saw his Hudl highlights and became convinced that he would be a good fit for the game.
One of Ridge's best highlights from last year was his game against Wheeling. He rolled up 442 yards and 7 touchdowns, both school records, on just 28 carries.
He also had a big game against Maine East, with 250 yards and 4 touchdowns.
"One of the best things about Ian is how diverse he is," Elk Grove football coach Miles Osei said. "He can play cornerback or wide receiver for us, and of course, running back. Another thing that separates him is his burst inside 20 yards, and his vision of the field is very unique."
Meanwhile, Ridge has also picked up two college offers since the COVID-19 lockdown began, both to Division II schools: Concordia of St. Paul and Minnesota Duluth.
"We've been sending out a lot of film and email and I've been talking to a lot of coaches about Ian and they all like what they see on film," Osei said. "A lot of coaches I've talked with see him as a Division I-caliber player so we'll see what (other offers) he gets."
Ridge just hopes that he gets a full football season in the fall to continue to showcase himself to college coaches.
He's been working every day during the lockdown to improve.
"I really hope we can play because I think our team can have a really good season," Ridge said. "We are all motivated and excited and we're working every day to get better."