Rebels Take Down #1

Story by Molly Seales.  Photos by Ryan Prosperie

Friday night football on October 15 had high stakes for the Riverdale Rebels.  It was senior night, and the winner of the game would clinch the District 3 1A Championship.  The team that stood in their way was the WCCA Rams.  For most of the season, the Rebels had held the #1 spot in the Impact Sports MAIS Coach’s Football Poll. However, after the Rebels fell by one touchdown to Class 2A Claiborne Academy on October 8, the poll dropped them from #1 to #5 and placed WCCA in the #1 spot.  The Rebels, playing without senior Monroe McCarty who is out for the season due to an injury, knew what they had to do. Behind the leadership of seniors Kaden Cason, Ty Jones, Jake Messenger, Chandler Nettles, and Denver Williams, the Rebels came out ready to play.

The Rebels wasted no time getting down to business.  On their first offensive possession, Jake Messenger ran in a long touchdown to draw first blood. The 2-point conversion was successful, making it 8-0 early. However, they were not done. On the Rams 2nd possession, Ty “Bones” Jones intercepted a pass and ran it into the end zone for an early touchdown of his own. With 7:37 left in the 1st quarter, the Rebels had stunned WCCA with an early 14-0 lead, and they never looked back.  At the end of the game the final score was 40-28 in favor of Riverdale.  It seemed like that coach’s poll may have inspired the Rebels to come out and show what they were capable of!

The Riverdale offense was on fire, having a total of 424 yards and 5 touchdowns against the Rams. Sophomore quarterback Ryder Huddleston was 3 for 6 in passing for 41 yards and no interceptions.  Jones had 1 reception for 39 yards, and Messenger had 2 receptions for 2 yards. Most of the Rebels’ yards came on the ground. They had 384 rushing yards. Messenger was in beast mode and had 25 carries for 302 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jones had 5 carries for 59 yards and 2 touchdowns. Junior Ben Almond had 3 carries for 6 yards. Sophomore Kyle Guillory had 4 carries for 15 yards, while Ryder Huddleston had 2 carries for 2 yards.

The Riverdale defense put up an outstanding effort against the solid Rams offense. Messenger had 2 solo tackles and 2 assists (2 TFL), while his cousin Ben Almond had 6 solo tackles, 1 assist, and broke up 5 crucial passes. Jones had 5 solo tackles, 8 assists (3 TFL), and an interception for a 40-yard touchdown. Guillory had 1 solo tackle and 2 assists (1 TFL), while Ryder Huddleston had 6 solo tackles, 7 assists (1 TFL), and 1 PBU.  Senior Reagan Huddleston had 7 solo tackles in his first game of the season and was a key player on defense. Senior Denver Williams was in beast mode with a solo tackle, 4 assists (4 TFL), and 3 sacks for a loss of 32 yards. Sophomore Hayden Hillman rounded out the defense with a solo tackle and an assist.

The Riverdale Rebels will travel to Learned, MS, this Friday night for their final regular season game against Rebul Academy. Because they won the district title, the Rebels received a bye for October 29.  They will play their first playoff game on Friday, November 5, in East Point at Marston Stadium.  We are so proud of this team, the coaches, and our Friday night nurses, Nikki Bryant, Nicki Caskey, Dawn Almond, Edith Gryder, and Kayla Shaver. These ladies don’t get the recognition they deserve, and we are grateful to have them taking care of our boys on Friday nights!

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