Crusaders’ Addrus too much for Rebels

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Sports Editor

After allowing big offensive games to St. James, Curtis and Newman over the past three weeks, Riverside’s defense has been a unit searching for answers.

Christian Life, and specifically running back Shane Addrus, would provide the Rebels no clues.

Addrus scored three touchdowns and carried the ball 41 times for 215 yards as the Crusaders topped Riverside in a non-district game in Reserve, 32-25.

“(Addrus) carried it 41 times, which is pretty unbelievable,” said Riverside Coach Tim Taffi. “And the reason I think he was able to do that was you can’t get a clean shot on him. He’s juking and jiving and making our guys miss.

“The bottom line,” Taffi added, “is that we didn’t tackle well at all.”

The loss dealt a blow to the Rebels’ playoff chances. Riverside (3-5) is still alive for a postseason berth, but will almost certainly have to defeat district foe Fisher in the regular season’s final game Friday night.

“This is a must win situation for us,” Taffi says.

Christian Life (7-1) is ranked seventh in the Class 1A poll. The Crusaders gained 395 total yards, including 363 on the ground.

The loss spoiled what may have been the Rebels best offensive day of the season. For the second week in a row, Riverside gave the opposition a different look, often speading the defense out. Riverside had 155 yards through the air and 150 on the ground, and didn’t turn the ball over.

“We were pretty balanced,” Taffi said. “But we haven’t played a complete game yet.”

Riverside quarterback Darnell Rachal was 9-of-17 for 155 yards and two touchdowns. He added 76 yards and a score on 10 carries. Thomas Crouch added 113 total yards and two touchdowns on 14 touches. Remi Poirrier scored two touchdowns and gained 77 total yards on six touches.

Christian Life quarterback Kevin Wright got the Crusaders on the board first with a 32-yard touchdown run, which made it 6-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Riverside answered when Remi Poirrier busted a 48-yard scoring run to put Riverside ahead 7-6 in the second quarter. But that lead would be shortlived. CLA took a 12-7 lead into the half after Wright found Addrus for a 23-yard score through the air.

In the third quarter, Riverside took the lead back on its biggest play of the night, a 52-yard pass from Rachal to Crouch that made it 13-12.

Crouch added to that lead with his second score of the quarter, from nine yards away. That made it 19-12.

But Christian Life found another gear. The Crusaders scored three unanswered touchdowns — A 71-yard run by Wright was sandwiched between two Addrus scores from 2 and 61 yards made it 32-19 in the fourth quarter.

“We allowed some big plays. The running back cut back on us on one, the quarterback got around the end on a sweep on another.

“Those come from defensive breakdowns and poor tackling. That sounds simple, but it’s a simple game. We need to play smarter.”

Poirrier scored his second touchdown of the game on a 27-yard pass from Rachal, cutting the lead to 32-25 late in the fourth quarter. But Christian Life would hold on from there.

Now, Riverside’s season will be on the line at Fisher — and Taffi says unless his defense can step up, the game could be the team’s last in 2008.

“We know they’re going to run the ball. And lately we’ve had trouble stopping the run,” Taffi said. “If we can keep doing what we’ve been doing on offense and execute, we should be ok there. But stopping the run right now — it’s a concern.”