MUSCODA - The Riverdale varsity football team traveled to Weston on Friday night to take on the Weston-Wonewoc co-op team. In a very tight and spirited game, the Chieftains dug in and pulled out a huge 22-14 win over the Silver Wolves.
In a game that featured many twists and turns, the Chieftains dominated the fourth quarter, rushing for 150-yards to secure the win.
“It wasn't easy, but we really played hard and we deserved this win,” said Coach Curt Thompson. “The boys have stuck together and have really improved as a team. We are very proud of them. We are hoping this is the start of a very strong end of the season push.”
On a windy and rainy night, the Chieftains started on offense. Using a very effective option attack, they quickly moved downfield picking, up three first downs. Unfortunately, a fumble stopped the drive. The Chieftain defense stepped onto the field and quickly forced a three and out.
After both teams exchanged punts, Riverdale started the second quarter on the offensive attack. Putting together a 12-play drive, they marched deep into Silver Wolves territory before a sack halted the drive. An attacking Chieftain defense continued to dominate the game. Led by seniors Drake Harris, Bradon Roen, and Athan Karabetsos, the Chieftains WW backwards and forced a punt. On the punt, a hard charging rush forced a mistake and they had the ball on the five-yard line. Moments later, Harris zipped in for a 5-yard touchdown run and Roen plowed in for the two point conversion, and it was 8-0.
“Just a great job by our guys of executing the plays and playing great defense,” said the coach.
Unfortunately, the lead was short lived. Moments later, WW hit on a 60-yard touchdown pass. After a deflected pass was caught for the two-point conversion. The game was tied, 8-8.
With the momentum squarely on the side of WW, Riverdale put together a solid 12-play drive that stalled as the first half ended.
“We had dominated the first half, running 36 plays to Weston-Wonewoc’s 15,” said Coach Thompson. “Plus, Weston-Wonewoc had a negative 18-yards rushing in the first half and we were just tied. We had to figure out a way to finish our drives in the second half.”
The second half was a wild one, where each team missed on opportunities, but the Chieftains got control of the game in the fourth to pull out the win.
To start the second half, Riverdale’s defense continued to shine, forcing a punt. The Chieftain drive stalled, but a nice punt by Roen and nice reaction by Ty Hougan pinned the Silver Wolves inside the five. The defense again held and forced another punt. Riverdale capitalized on a great field position. Harris scored his second touchdown of the game when he ripped through a nice hole and darted 19-yards to score. Harris then crashed in for the two-point conversion, giving the Chieftains a 16-8 lead.
“Great job by the offensive line,” said the coach, “and Drake had a great game on both sides of the ball.”
The Silver Wolves put together their best drive of the night and eventually hit on a 12-yard touchdown pass to make it 16-14.
The Chieftain defense, on a critical play, stopped the two-point conversion to keep the lead, 16-14.
The next minute of the game was a wild one, as an alert Tyler Hach forced a turnover deep in Chieftain territory by pouncing on a loose ball.
“That was a huge play in the game!” exclaimed Coach Thompson.
As the fourth quarter started, the Chieftains looked to pull away. Things started well when Roen burst through a hole and rambled for a 52-yard gain deep into WW territory. Moments later with the ball at the one, Riverdale fumbled and gave the ball back.
“That was tough, but the key was how we responded,” said the coach. “It would have been easy to say here we go again, but we stuck together and made the plays to win this game. Our players deserve tremendous credit for how they bounced back.”
The Chieftain defense again rose up and stopped the Silver Wolves. This time on offense, they converted. Roen again hit the same hole and this time took it the distance, going 31-yards for the touchdown for a 22-14 lead.
“Bradon had a tremendous game on both sides of the ball – he is relentless,” said Coach Thompson. “Our offensive line of Michael Helt, Sean Deglow, Ty Hougan, Athan Karabetsos, Terry Hrubes, and Michael Schaefer really carried our offense tonight.”
The Chieftain defense made one more stand, as nice pass break ups by Caleb Johnson and Hougan thwarted the WW attack.
“What a nice job by our defense tonight,” said the coach. “They came up with a number of big plays. Tonight, we started three Frosh in Tyler Hach, Trey Schneider, and Logan Heffner on defense and they played very well.”
Now on offense, Riverdale needed to run out the final 3:30. Behind a determined offensive front, they got the job done. It was quarterback Caleb Johnson who hit on the key run, as he slipped through for a 28- yard run to ice the game.
“Caleb is really doing a nice job running the offense,” said Coach Thompson. “He called a number of great audibles and is doing a very good job running the option.”
So, as the clock ran out, the Chieftains earned the right to celebrate a 22-14 win.
This is a big win and now they need to get their focus on Kickapoo-La Farge as they look to continue to improve and close out this season on a high note.
The game will be played at La Farge with play getting underway at 7 p.m.
Game Stats: Riverdale, Weston-Wonewoc
First Downs – 16, 6
Rushing Att/YDS – 58-385, 26-39
Passing C/Att – 0/1, 7/17
Passing YDS – 0, 145
Total YDS – 385, 184
Rushing – Roen, 28-208, TD; Johnson, 15-86; and Harris, 13-73
Defense: Roen, 15 tackles, 1 TFL/SAC; Harris, 12 tackles, 1 TFL; Karabetsos, 7 tackles, 2 TFLs, Deglow, 1 TFL/SAC; and Hach, 1 fumble recovery