Riverside hits their stride in Homecoming win over Country Day

  • icon
  • icon
  • icon
  • icon

The Riverside Academy Rebels might remember the 2017 season for the games that got away.

But Friday night, they showed their fans how they can finish.

The defending Division III state champion Rebels put together as complete a game as they’ve played all season on the way to a dominating 49-18 homecoming win over Country Day at Mickey Roussel Field in Reserve.

The Rebels (3-4, 2-1) scored on six of their seven possessions in the first half to build a 29-0 lead, then added a pair of scores in the third quarter.

Six different Rebels players scored touchdowns and the special teams blocked a punt for a safety (credit Jared Kenney with the block).

Louis Cheneau, Zack Geiger and Garland Robertson scored rushing touchdowns. Jared Hymel, normally a linebacker, scored on a faked punt and on a 1-yard dive. Jeremy Gibson was held out of the game for an injury. Cheneau led the Rebels ground attack with 85 yards on 12 carries.

Quarterback Jordan Loving was 13 of 17 for 164 yards and two touchdowns, a 19-yard strike to Jeremiah Bigham in the first quarter and a 70-yard pass to Jalen Banks in the third.

“It was very important for us just because it was the next game,” Loving said. “We wanted to come out here and play Riverside football and establish our brand. I think we did that. It’s been a rough year. It’s been an up and down crazy year. We like adversity and our main goal is still in front of us.”

Friday’s win was only the third of the season for the Rebels, who lost to Class 5A teams Barbe and Rummel, the No. 1 team in Class 3A De La Salle and to District 9-2A leader Newman by a missed extra point in overtime.

“We challenged our kids to come out and put a complete game together in all three phases and I think we did a good job of that,” said Riverside coach Chris Lachney. “Our team’s been through a lot. Our team’s had an interesting year to say the least. We’re looking forward to finishing it the right way.”

Country Day (5-4, 2-2) got a solid performance from sophomore quarterback Julian Ibieta, who passed for 241 yards and two touchdowns. He threw a 20-yard pass to Christian Becnel for the Cajuns’ first score in the second quarter. The PAT failed, leaving the Cajuns trailing 29-6.

Country Day added a pair of late touchdowns. Price Petagna scored on a 13-yard halfback pass from Buckner Heebe in the third quarter. Ibieta connected with Petagna for a 27-yard touchdown on the final play of the game.

But the Cajuns were no match for the Rebels in the early going. Their first possession went three plays for minus-16 yards and backed up to the 4-yard line. Ibieta tried to punt from his own end zone, but Kenney burst through the line for the block. The ball went through the back of the end zone, resulting in a safety.

Robertson returned the ensuing kickoff to the Cajun’s 35-yard line and it only took the Rebels three plays to score. Loving connected with Bigham for the 19-yard touchdown pass, but the PAT failed leaving Riverside with an 8-0 lead.

The Cajuns next possession went five plays, thanks to a pass interference call on the Rebels, but the drive stalled at the Country Day 39. Riverside took over at its own 39 and needed six plays to score, with Cheneau going over the top from the 1. Colton Wilson’s PAT made it 15-0 with 2:23 remaining in the first quarter.

Country Day didn’t gain much more ground on its next possession, but went for it on fourth down at the Rebels 38. Riverside’s defense held the line and the Cajuns turned the ball over on downs. Five plays later, Zack Geiger ran in for the score. Wilson’s PAT put Riverside ahead 22-0 with 7:57 remaining in the first half.

The Cajuns had to turn the ball over again when Ibieta’s fourth down completion to Heebe was ruled out of bounds. The Rebels had to overcome a few penalties on its next drive, including an ineligible receiver downfield call that wiped out a gain that put the Rebels at the Cajuns 1-yard line. Instead, Robertson ran around left end for a 26-yard score with 4:15 remaining in the half.

Country Day finally found a rhythm on its next drive. Ibieta took the Cajuns from their own 20 with a 9-yard run, then a 16-yard pass to Clinton Nicholas. On third-and-12, Ibieta connected with Heebe on a 37-yard pass to the Riverside 20, then he found Becnel for the touchdown with 2:29 remaining in the half. The PAT was blocked leaving the Cajuns trailing 29-6.

Riverside would add one more score before half. As the drive stalled at the Country Day 37, Lachney called for a fake punt. The snap went directly to Hymel, who ran around the right side then cut to his left for the score. Wilson kicked the PAT to give the Rebels a 26-6 halftime lead.

  • < PREV Tulane falls at No. 24 Memphis, 56-26
  • NEXT > John Curtis outlasts Rummel to win second straight Catholic League title