Quick strike key to Knights’ win|Riverside wins defensive battle

Published 2:03 am Saturday, October 30, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Brian@wdnweb.com, Sports Writer
CHOCOWINITY — The biggest play doesn’t always happen at the end of the game. That was proven on Friday night when Riverside edged out Four Rivers Conference rival Southside 13-8 on Friday thanks largely to a 44-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Luke Mathews to Marcus Freeman on the first play of the game.
Both teams entered Friday night’s matchup tied for third place in the conference, but after the win Riverside moved up a notch as it improved to 8-2 (4-2) while Southside dipped to 7-3 (3-3).
The Knights received the ball first, and after a good return accompanied by a 15-yard Seahawks’ penalty, took their first snap of the game on the Southside 44-yard line.
Looking for a quick strike, Riverside coach Asim McGill called for Freeman to run a go-route down the right sideline. Mathews carried out the call and connected with Freeman, who received the pass at about the 20 and ran the rest of the way to give the Knights a 7-0 lead less than 20 seconds into the game.
“I had been thinking about that play all day long,” McGill said. “I told my coaches that when I woke up this morning I knew that, that would be the first play I called. I said regardless of where we get the ball on our first play we’re going to run that play and that’s what we did.”
After a defensive stand halted a lengthy Seahawks’ drive, the Knights pieced together an 82-yard drive that was highlighted by a few sharp throws by Mathews which included a 32-yarder to Ramelle Lanier and a couple of good runs on screen passes by Trevon Rogers.
The drive was capped off by a 20-yard strike from Mathews (13-25, 209 2 TDs, 2 INTs) to Lanier who made a nice grab in the back of the end zone to take a 13-0 advantage.
The Seahawks retaliated on their very next drive via the ground game which was led by running backs Terril Moore, Rokeem Miller, Julie Brown and quarterback Jordan Benston. That drive would end with Miller scoring on a 3-yard scamper, and after a Benston two-point conversion, Southside cut Riverside’s lead to 13-8.
From there it appeared a shootout was set in motion but instead the exact opposite happen. Both teams tighten up on defense and provided several key stops throughout the night as neither team would cross the goal line the rest of the way.
“We give up two plays earlier, one right on the first play,” Southside coach DeWayne Kellum said. “Then we started moving the ball, we don’t quit but we came out in the second half and we just couldn’t move the ball.”
Kellum praised his team for not giving up and cited Friday night’s performance by the defense as the best of the year up to date.
McGill felt the same way.
“It was a gritty win for us. Sometimes you have to win games like that,” McGill said. “We had some chances to put the game away. We had a few chances inside the red zone but we just couldn’t get points out of it. My hats off to Southside, they played hard and that’s a credit to them.”
Riverside Southside
11 First Downs 11
18-80 Rushes-Yards 38-195
225 Passing Yards 15
13-25-2 Pass-Comp-Int 2-6-15
1-22 Punting 3-28
3-1 Fumbles-Lost 4-1
3-15 Penalties 5-45
Riverside 13 0 0 0 — 13
Southside 0 8 0 0 — 8
Scoring Summary
R — Marcus Freeman 44 pass from Luke Mathews (Mathews Perry kick) 11:44, 1st.
R — Ramelle Lanier 20 pass from Mathews (Perry kick failed), :27, 1st.
S — Rokeem Miller 3 run (Jordan Benston two points), 10:36, 2nd.