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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Bears struggle but stay perfect


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It might not have been the way he drew it up, but Riverbend head coach Tony DeMarco can’t complain about his team’s 5–0 start.

The road to an undefeated start has been bumpy, and Riverbend’s 24–14 win over Brooke Point Friday night was no different.

The Bears found themselves in trouble almost instantly in what looked to be a nightmarish start.

Just three plays into the game, Riverbend quarterback Eric Byrd took a blind-sided beating and flung the ball in the air, only for Black–Hawks lineman Nicholas Watkins to snatch it and take it the other way for an easy seven-point lead.

But whenever the game threw the Bears a curveball, they responded.

“It’s really impressive to look how young we are,” DeMarco said, “[and] how good we are.”

Early in the second quarter, Dakota Sexton burst up the middle for a 47-yard touchdown run to even the score.

Later in the half, Byrd connected with Conner Booren on an 80-yard touchdown pass over the middle to give Riverbend the lead.

“I burnt the dude who was covering me and broke a tackle and somehow got into the end zone,” Booren said.

It was the connection of Byrd and Booren, teammates since seventh grade, that would put the Bears in field-goal range on a 31-yard pass. Lance Dasilva drilled a 32-yard kick to afford the Bears some breathing room heading into the half.

Following a scoreless third quarter, Brooke Point put together a 65-yard drive that ended with a M.J. Hampton 7-yard touchdown run to make it a three-point game.

“That was the fastest team we’ve faced all year,” DeMarco said.

With Booren having left the game with a sprained left foot toward the end of the first half, Byrd relied on his other options to respond on a big drive that would put the game away.

On a third-and-8, Byrd hit Tyler Lacik with a 33-yard bullet to extend the drive. Two plays later, Zac Sims essentially closed the book with an 18-yard touchdown run.

Prior to their final possession, the Bears had gone

1-for-7 on third down, but came up with two clutch conversions to chew the clock on their last drive.

Brooke Point threatened to close the gap late on the next possession, bringing the ball down to the Bears’ 32-yard line, but quarterback Donovan Fobbs was picked off by Aaron Judkins at the 2-yard line.

“This is right where we want to be,” Byrd said, “sitting right here at 5–0.”

After the interception in the game’s opening drive, Byrd settled in and went 4 for 7 with 160 yards and a touchdown.

Booren cashed in on his two catches in the first half, racking up 111 yards and one touchdown.

The Bears visit Massaponax next Friday, while the Black–Hawks (1–4) travel to Colonial Forge.

“I don’t know if I drew it up that way,” DeMarco said. “We’ve got some big dogs waiting on us.”