By Molly Seales
In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, the Riverdale Rebels came out strong and made it to the semi-final game, where they came up short to eventual Class A Champion Lee Academy. These boys worked hard all summer and into the fall, and their hard work paid off. Under the direction of head coach Jared Smelser and assistant coaches Jensen Spillum and Nathan Edie, eight Rebels made the all-district team.
Junior Hayden Hillman, who played offensive and defensive line, was the district 1-3A defensive MVP. Hillman put up some impressive numbers on tackles, assists, and sacks, while also leading the team on the o-line. Four more Rebels made first team all-district. Joining Hillman were senior wide receiver and cornerback Ben Almond, senior cornerback Jace Wilhite, junior quarterback/athlete Ryder Huddleston, junior defensive lineman Landen Barrett, and junior running back and defensive lineman Kyle Guillory.
Riverdale also had three players make second team all-district. Senior offensive lineman Tyler Parker and junior offensive lineman Jaxon Gates were both named to the team. Freshman Ashton Almond, who got to play with his brother Ben in Ben’s last season, stepped up big for the Rebels this year and earned all-district honors as a linebacker.
With Hillman, Guillory, Huddleston, Barrett, Gates, and Ashton Almond returning next season, along with several other Riverdale experienced players returning next season, look for the Rebels to be back in contention next year to make a strong playoff run. Congratulations to our all-district players!
Photo credit Joni Riggs