Park Ridge coach Gary Mioli knew enough about Bogota’s running game to know that he didn’t want to see any more of it Saturday afternoon.

Steven Schneider ran for two touchdowns and threw for another and the Owls took advantage of three huge turnovers in the fourth quarter to hold on for a 28-14 victory over the Bucs in an NJIC Patriot Division B contest.

Photo Credit: Colleen White

“The way they run their offense, I was panicky all week,” Mioli said. “They have some pretty big kids over there.”

And the Bucs showed early on what they could do with them, picking off a Chris Criscuolo pass on the second play from scrimmage and gaining 38 yards on seven straight running plays to take a 7-0 lead.

But the Owls (2-0) proved they were up to the task, going 67 yards on six plays of their own, capped by Schneider’s 17-yard scamper over the left side to tie the score, 7-7.

“The line was opening up some huge holes,” said Schneider, who moved from under center to take over at running back after Charles Rossi was injured in the Owls’ opening day victory over Queen of Peace.

Criscuolo made it 14-7 minutes later, hitting Johnny Malespina from 28 yards out to cap a five-play, 28-yard drive for Park Ridge. And Schneider followed up a huge interception by Billy Murphy with less than a minute left in the half with back-to-back completions, hitting Jake Vitaliano from 10 yards out with seven seconds left in the half for a 21-7 lead.

Bogota (0-2), which rushed for 208 yards in the game, came out strong in the second half, taking the opening kickoff and marching 71 yards in 11 plays. Christian Perpepaj barreled through a huge hole on the left side for 20 yards and his second touchdown of the game to cut the deficit to 21-14.

Park Ridge again came back with an 11-play, 71-yard drive of its own to again open up a two touchdown lead. Schneider, who finished with 89 yards and two touchdowns, capped the drive with a two-yard scamper.

That’s when the Park Ridge defense got opportunistic as Bogota’s next three drives all ended on turnovers.

The Owls’ Tyler Cardone recovered a Bogota fumble on his own 47-yard line and Vitaliano, who also had two sacks, made a nice one-handed grab for an interception at his own 27 to end the next one.

“We started out very slowly in each half, so we knew we had to get the turnovers,” Vitaliano said.

“We had too many turnovers,” Bogota coach Nick DeStefano said. “You can’t gift away the football that many times and not expect them to do anything with it.”

And the Owls did just enough with it to keep it away from the Bucs the rest of the way and keep them from cutting the lead to one score.

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