Knights to take on Stallions

Published 7:08 pm Thursday, November 10, 2011

WILLIAMSTON — Riverside has been on fire lately as it has won six of its last seven games and rides a four-game winning streak into the District Round of the NCHSAA 1-AA playoffs tonight where the No. 3 Knights (7-5) travel to take on No. 2 Southwest Onslow (9-2, Coastal Plains).
Last season, it was the Stallions that put an end to the Knights’ playoff run in this very same round, but this year Riverside is hoping to avenge that loss and advance to the Sectional Round of the postseason.
The Knights have steadily shown improvement in each week as coach Asim McGill’s club appears to be peaking at the right time.
Riverside rolled past fellow Four Rivers Conference foe Camden 53-13 in the first round of the playoffs. The outcome of that game was vastly different then when the two teams first met in Week 6 when the Knights squeaked by the Bruins 12-7.
“It was a good overall game,” McGill said of his playoff victory. “Defense, offense and special teams all did a good job.”
The Knights got off to a bumpy start this season but have come on since that Week 6 win over Camden. After the first six games of the year, Riverside averaged 11.8 points per game and held a 2-4 record. Since that clash with the Bruins, the Knights have tallied an astounding 43.3 points per contest and have gone 5-1 in that stretch.
With first-year quarterback Matt Wisienewski at the helm, it has taken the offense a few weeks to jell, but on the other side of the ball Riverside has been consistently strong. The Knights have allowed a mere 15.6 points per game on the season and in the last six games have been even stronger as the have surrendered only 13.3 points per contest which includes a 40-26 loss to Four Rivers Conference co-champions Plymouth.
McGill said the strong play of his defense is a direct result of a team effort.
“Middle linebacker Thurman Collier has been a big leader for us on that side of the ball, he’s the quarterback of our defense,” McGill said. “Our D-line has done a great job up front Darik Cox, Bryce Modlin, Mario Moore and DeShawn James, they’ve given us a good chance.”
That unit will have to play well again when it takes on a Southwest Onslow team that won the Coastal Plains title thanks to its 40 points per game average.
“They’re a good football team with a great football tradition,” McGill said. “On offense they’re going to run the ball with a straight T backfield … Their running backs are very good. I think their fullback is the leading rusher and their other two wingbacks are very good.”
In order to slide past the Stallions, the Knights are going to have to come out limit their mistakes.
“We have to go down there and have the mindset that we can beat these guys and be confident,” McGill said. “We have to eliminate the mistakes and make them have to drive the ball to score.”