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Dobbs Ferry Senior Knocked Out of Last Home Game

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. — It happened fast as in most football plays. Eagles’s running back Eddie Ritch was leading the block for quarterback Spencer Avalos, who had just intercepted a pass and was running toward the Falcon’s end line.

“I saw a kid. He was coming across, so I tried to hit him as hard as I could,” Ritch said.

They collided helmet to helmed and fell on the ground. Ritch tried to get up, but he couldn’t.

“My knees buckled and I went back down,” he said. “I was a bit out of it, but then, five minutes later, I was good.”

The incident caused some commotion during the high school playoff game between the Dobbs Ferry Eagles and the Woodlands Falcons last Saturday on a snow-covered Gould Park.

Ritch wanted to get back in the game, which was still in its first quarter, but Dr. Katherine Hough, the school's physician, wouldn’t let him do it.

“He looks good, but we want him to be managed properly,” she said. “We just want to take no chance.”

“No, I am playing,” Ritch kept repeating, refusing to accept the doctor’s decision.

As Hough remained firm, Ritch took out his helmet and threw it on the ground, then sat alone on the bench, visibly aggravated.

“It was in the heat of the moment. I was being a bit disrespectful,” said Ritch, a senior. “But I wanted to get back in the game because it was my last home game, and who doesn’t want to play in that?”

Teammates and others rushed to the bench to console him.

“Calm down,” said a parent from behind the fence.

“I know you want to play, but we have our procedures,” said an assistant coach.

Ritch apologized to Hough, but kept trying to convince her to let him play, until she, bending over and aiming her index finger at him, uttered the definite sentence.

“If you want to play next week, don’t screw around,” she said.

Ritch’s mother, Jackie, who was watching the game, cried while talking to the doctor and her son.

“I feel bad because he wants to play,” Jackie Ritch said. “But if he gets hit again, the game is over.”

She again couldn’t hold her tears, saying that she was sick of reading about football players getting injured on their heads.

“When you see your son so dizzy on the ground. He tries to get back and he can’t,” she said. “That was really scary.”

Hough said that Ritch was going to be examined during the week, although he guaranteed that he’s ready to play in the finals against Bronxville Saturday night at Mahopac High School.

“I am good,” he said after the game.

He didn’t seem so worried about his mother either. “My mom was freaking out, but she always does that,” he said.

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