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Prep Football: Riverbend gets back on right track
BEARS USE BYE WEEK TO GET BETTER, SHAKE OFF BACK-TO-BACK DEFEATS
BY NICK ST. DENIS
Riverbend’s very first priority Friday night against Orange was to score the game’s first points, as the Bears had yet to do through six games.
Riverbend scored first, last and everywhere in between in a 35–0 Commonwealth District victory on homecoming night.
“It’s a great feeling,” senior tight end Jamie Deason said of the Bears’ homecoming victory. “… That makes the people that played with us before proud, and it gives the younger kids something to look forward to.
“Now they have to hold that standard.”
Riverbend (4–3, 3–2) looked sharp coming off a bye week after losing its two games prior. The Bears won three in a row before that.
“The week off did us a lot of good,” Riverbend coach Tony DeMarco said. “It kind of gave us a mental break from having to prepare for an opponent.”
During the break, the Bears didn’t scrimmage or get live work against the JV squad like DeMarco had seen teams do in the past. Instead, DeMarco said Riverbend “just tried to sharpen our edge” with competitive drills.”
“It really rested us physically and mentally, and I know it did for me as a coach, as well,” he said.
Defensively, the Bears stood strong against the run Friday night, holding Orange (1–6, 0–5) to just 30 yards on the ground.
And while Orange’s Garrett Johnson gained 102 yards through the air, Riverbend’s defense pick him off four times and didn’t allow many yards after the catch.
“We tackled a lot better tonight,” DeMarco said. “There were probably only one or two times where I thought we should’ve made tackles and didn’t.”
Riverbend’s offense gave a different look on its first possession, lining up Deason at quarterback throughout the drive.
Deason scored on a 1-yard run to give Riverbend a quick 14–0 lead.
“We just wanted to throw some different things out there,” DeMarco said. “[Eric] Byrd’s our starter. He’s 100 percent healthy. We just wanted to take a look at some different packages.”
Zach Sims led Riverbend in rushing with 72 yards on just six carries. He scored on a 38-yard scamper to give the Bears a commanding 28–0 lead by halftime.
Riverbend’s DaVonte Christmas found pay dirt on a 25-yard run early in the second half, and the Bears cruised from there.
Matt Capozza opened the scoring with an 80-yard interception return on Orange’s first possession.
Midway through the opening stanza, Byrd reassumed his normal position as the team’s starting signal-caller, and he hit Deason with a 13-yard touchdown pass.
Tristan Burnett, Bernard Webb and Kyal Curry also had interceptions for Riverbend.
Defensive end Ben Hargett was a bright spot for Orange, recording 11 combined tackles in the loss.
Riverbend is slated to face Massaponax next Friday.
“Massaponax is a good football team,” Deason said. “But we’re a good football team, too.”
Orange 0 0 0 0 — 0
Riverbend 21 7 7 0 — 35
Rb-M. Capozza 80-yard interception (L. DaSilva kick)
Rb-J. Deason 1-yard run (L. DaSilva kick)
Rb-J. Deason 13-yard pass from E. Byrd (L. DaSilva kick)
Rb-Z. Sims 38-yard run (L. DaSilva kick)
Rb-D. Christmas 25-yard run (L. DaSilva kick)
First downs8 12
Rushing yardage16-30 36-159
Passing yardage102 111
Rushing: Riverbend—Zach Sims 6-72, TD; DaVonte Christmas 5-41, TD; James Pritchett 14-21; Jamie Deason 5-14, TD; Eric Byrd 4-11; Maurice Vincent 2-0. Orange—Isaiah Ferguson 11-32; Mikael Wallace 3-12; Matthew Thurston 1-(-4); Garrett Johnson 1-(-10).
Passing: Riverbend—Eric Byrd 6-9-0 93, TD; Jamie Deason 1-1-0 18. Orange—Garrett Johnson 12-27-4 102.
Receiving: Riverbend—Jaymz Jackson 2-65; Jamie Deason 2-22, TD; Matt Capozza 2-6. Orange—Isaiah Ferguson 3-40; Cameron Rickett 2-20; Christian Clore 2-14.
Nick St. Denis: 540/374-5440