Rebels, Falcons look to ground it out

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 22, 2000

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / November 22, 2000

RESERVE – The St. Thomas Aquinas-Riverside quarterfinal game Fridaynight could be one of the fastest games in the River Parishes this year.

The clock will be moving as both team’s forte on offense is the run.

Riverside enters the game averaging over 259 rushing yards per game.

Britt Waguespack leads the team with 837 yards and eight touchdowns.

Brandon Delaneuville has rushed for over 700 yards and a team-high 13touchdowns. Jared St. Amant has also rushed for over 500 yards whilequarterback Damian Melancon has gone over 450 yards. Melancon has alsopassed for over 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Riverside has kept it up in the playoffs, averaging over 220 yards a gamerunning the ball. Britt Waguespack has broken the 100-yard mark in eachgame, rushing for 208 yards. Melancon and Delaneuville have both rushedfor over 100 yards.

Riverside had 258 yards in offense in a 14-0 victory over North VermilionFriday in the Class 2A regionals. Riverside had 185 of those yards on theground, led by Waguespack with 101 on 18 carries. Melancon had another49 yards on 12 carries. Delaneuville ran for 21 yards, including a 11-yardtouchdown run. Melancon completed 6-of-11 passes for 73 yards includinga nine-yard touchdown pass to Seth Johnson.

The Riverside defense has really come on at the end of the season. Overthe last three games, the Rebels have allowed a combined 239 yards inoffense and 14 points to Fisher, Loyola and North Vermilion. The passdefense has especially excelled, allowing those three teams a combined45 yards through the air. Against North Vermilion, the Rebels gave up 53 yards, 45 on the ground,while forcing two turnovers. North Vermilion had two first downs andthreatened just once. Ryan Bugay ended that threat with an interceptioninside the Riverside 10-yard line.

That defense will be tested this week against a St. Thomas Aquinas teamthat features one of the top running backs in the state in Byron Robertson.

Robertson was an all-state selection last year and is on pace to be oneagain this year. He led the area in Class 2A in rushing in the regularseason with 2,042 yards and 30 touchdowns on 179 attempts. He addedanother six touchdowns and four two-point conversions to lead the areawith 220 points.

Against Albany early in the season, he had 309 yards and four touchdownson 28 attempts. Two weeks later, he had a 275-yard, four touchdown gameagainst Pope John Paul II. Robertson has kept it up in the playoffs. In a 39-14 victory over Homer inthe bi-district round, he rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns andadded a third score on a 66-yard punt return. He topped that in a 51-21victory over McCall in the regionals Friday, rushing for 289 yards and fourtouchdowns. He also returned the opening kickoff 74 yards for anotherscore. His touchdown runs went 52, 60, 65 and 10 yards.

St. Thomas Aquinas finished with 427 yards in the game, all on the ground.

Kyle Ryan also ran for two touchdowns for the Falcons. The Falconsattempted just one pass in the game and had it intercepted.

The St. Thomas Aquinas defense held McCall to 158 total yards, 109coming on the ground. A week earlier, the Falcons held Homer to 33 totalyards while forcing eight turnovers.

St. Thomas Aquinas is averaging over 36 points a game this season. Thefalcons have been held to under 20 points just once and that came in theironly loss, 19-17, at Jewel Sumner. That game was for the District 8-2A championship. St. Thomas Aquinasfinished second with a 4-1 district record and a 9-1 record overall. Quarterback Butch Roussel, a junior joins Robertson and Ryan in thebackfield. Senior Derek Richardson will also see time in the backfield.

Senior Steve Tallo returns at wide receiver while senior Brent Barris isthe tight end. Williams Marshall will also see action at that position.

The Falcons only had two returning starters on the offensive line thisseason in seniors Chris McIntyre at right guard and Blake Barrilleaux atleft tackle. Senior B.J. Huck is at left guard, junior Derrick Ferrara is at right guardand junior Trey Tantillo mans the center spot.

The Falcons defense allowed an average of 12 points per game in 2000,shutting out two teams. That defense is led by a line that includesMarshall and junior John Guerin at the ends, sophomore Ryan Dugas andjunior Ryun White at the tackles and senior Paul Genco at noseguard. Both starters, Brent Barios and Dustane Reed, return at linebacker.

Robertson also plays in the secondary and is joined by senior Mike Sharpand juniors Cody Bertone and Mike Zatarain. Junior Brad McKee is the place kicker while Ryan handles the puntingduties.

Kickoff for Friday’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Riverside. The winneradvances to the semifinals to play the winner of Farmerville and Ferriday.

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