By Molly Seales
On Friday, September 24, the Riverdale Ragin’ Rebels traveled to West Monroe for their 2nd district game against the Northeast Baptist School Knights. The Rebels made quick work of the Knights, with a first quarter score of 40-0. Head Coach Jared Smelser began making substitutions in the second quarter, and all Rebel players saw action in the game. The final score was 64-0 in favor of Riverdale. This improved their district record to 2-0 and their overall record to 6-1. I asked Coach Jared about his thoughts about the game. He said, “The guys came out and played. The defense didn’t give them a chance to get their offense going and allowed us to have the short side of the field. Offense had some big plays from Jake Messenger. Offensively, I felt like we finally got an identity. We need to continue to improve. Our offensive line allowed us to run whatever play we wanted to. We clicked, and it looked fast.”
The Rebel offense was on fire! They had 15 offensive plays for 206 yards and 8 touchdowns. Senior lineman Kaden Cason and senior center Chandler Nettles made some outstanding blocks for their teammates. Senior Jake Messenger had a 34-yard punt return for a touchdown. Messenger also had 6 carries for 91 yards and 5 touchdowns. Sophomore Kyle Guillory had 4 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown, while junior Ben Almond had 2 carries for 10 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Kaidyn Williams had 2 carries for 6 yards. Sophomore quarterback Ryder Huddleston was 1/1 in passing for 55 yards and a touchdown. Senior Monroe McCarty was his target and ran it into the end zone. McCarty, Messenger, Huddleston, and senior Ty “Bones” Jones each had a 2-point conversion. Jones was 2 for 4 in kicking the extra point.
The Rebel defense completely stifled the Knights. They held them to 2/16 in passing for 0 yards, 1 interception, and 2 sacks for -7 yards. The Knights attempted 20 rushes for -6 yards and 3 fumbles, all of which were recovered by the Rebels. Quite possibly the highlight of the game came from senior defensive/offensive lineman Denver Williams. He spends his Friday nights protecting his boys, but this Friday, they helped protect him. A Knight fumbled the ball on the 15-yard line, and Williams picked it up and headed for the end zone. McCarty, Huddleston, Jones, and Messenger fell in behind him to assure that no Knight would even get close as he ran it in for a touchdown. The celebration in the end zone was electric. In addition to his touchdown, Williams had a solo tackle, an assist, a sack resulting in a loss of a yard, and 3 TFL. McCarty had 4 solo tackles, 2 assists (1 TFL), and 2 PBU. Messenger had 1 solo tackle and 1 assist (1 TFL.) Jones had a solo tackle, an assist, a sack resulting in a loss of 6 yards, and 2 TFL. Ben Almond had 1 solo tackle and 1 interception for 10 yards, while his brother, 8th grader Ashton Almond, had 2 solo tackles, 2 assists, and 1 PBU. Guillory had a solo tackle with a TFL, while Huddleston had 2 assists (1 TFL), and 1 PBU. Junior James Wagoner had 2 solo tackles and 1 assist, while junior Tyler Parker had 2 fumble recoveries. Sophomore Hayden Hillman had 2 assists (2 TFL.) Kaidyn Williams had 1 assist (1 TFL) and 1 PBU, while freshman Logan Gryder had 1 assist.
This week the Rebels will play on Thursday, September 30, instead of on Friday. The Franklin Academy Cougars will come to East Point for the game. Kickoff will be at 6:00 p.m. Thursday night at Marston Stadium. Come out and cheer on your Rebels!
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