Riverdale Downs PVA in Home Opener

By Molly Seales with photos by Ryan Prosperie

For the start of the football season at Riverdale Academy, the Rebels travelled to ACCS in Natchez, Mississippi to play their “home opener.”  The team played against the PVA Spartans and took the win with a score of 36 to 20. 

Coach Jared Smelser said, “Overall I thought we did a good job.  I’m proud of them.  We came out like we were on a mission.  PVA is well coached and plays hard; they are a good team. Our defensive coordinator, Nathan Edie, did a good job having the defense ready.  We played quick and hit hard.  When you have a good defense, it will help you win games.  We had some miscues that we will fix and prepare for Briarfield.  PVA is the state runner up and Briarfield is the defending state champion, so we don’t have time to relax.”

Mary Almond, known as Mae Mae to many of the students at Riverdale, is a long-time fan and supporter of Riverdale Academy.  Her sons played football for the Rebels in the late `80s and early `90s, and now she has the chance to watch her grandsons in action.  She had this to say about the season, “I am excited to have all six of my grandsons back at the same school this year  Having all 6 of them plus a great nephew on the team this year is just fantastic.  Football season has always been a favorite at our house, because it meant so much to Tremmell.  There is such an excitement among all team members.  I’ve watched not only mine, but all of these boys play and develop into great players.  We may have one of the best teams Riverdale has seen.  I certainly hope so!”  Mary’s grandsons are seniors Parker Almond, Witt Almond, and Paul Messenger; junior Jake Messenger; sophomore Ben Almond; and 7th grader Ashton Almond.  Her great nephew is junior Ty Jones. 

Senior Witt Almond had a great night at quarterback going 6/11 in passing for 114 yards and 1 touchdown.  He also rushed for 17 yards. Senior Paul Messenger had 11 carries for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Junior Jake Messenger had 7 carries for 91 yards and 2 touchdowns as well.  Senior Brennan Edie had 5 carries for 51 yards.  Team total was 287 rushing yards on 29 carries and 4 touchdowns. Senior Parker Almond had 3 receptions for 68 yards, while his younger brother sophomore Ben Almond had 1 reception for 11 yards.  Paul Messenger had one reception for 10 yards, and Jake Messenger had one reception for 25 yards and a touchdown. Riverdale passed for 114 yards with 6 receptions and 1 touchdown.

The Rebels were strong defensively as well. Defensive Player of the Game Jake Messenger was on fire with 7 solo tackles, 3 assists, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 interceptions.  Paul Messenger had 3 solo tackles and 4 assists. Junior Denver Williams had 3 solo tackles with 1 assist (2 TFL.)  Parker Almond had 3 solo tackles with 2 assists (1 TFL.)  Junior Ty Jones had 2 solo tackles with 6 assists.  Sophomore Tyler Parker had 2 solo tackles and 1 assist.  Brennan Edie had 1 solo tackle and 2 assists.  Freshman Ryder Huddleston also had a great night with 1 solo tackle, 2 assists, and had two crucial PBU’s.  The Riverdale defense held the PVA Spartans to 178 yards passing and 60 yards rushing.

If Friday’s game is any indication, it’s going to be a great year for Riverdale football!