Rebels romp to second district win

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 7, 2009



Riverside on its third straight game and moved to 2-0 in district play on Saturday afternoon with a 55-20 victory over Thomas Jefferson at Hoss Memtsas Stadium.

Darnell Rachal passed for three touchdowns and ran for another to pace the Rebels (4-1).

Thomas Jefferson drops to 0-5 in its first year of playing varsity football.

“They’re a work in progress,” said Riverside coach Mickey Roussel. “We wanted to go out and be workmanlike, take care of business. We were able to get up big in the first half, and it allowed us to get everybody some playing time.”

Roussel said that a point of emphasis was improving the team’s passing attack, and that certainly seemed to be in order on Saturday. Rachal completed eight-of-nine passes for 182 yards in the first half, and his day was done after the Rebels built a 34-0 halftime lead.

“We wanted to polish it up a little bit,” said Roussel. “The weather the way’s it’s been, we haven’t been able to throw as much as we’d like every day in practice. But on a turf field in good weather, we got in some good work in a game situation.”

Riverside jumped to a 7-0 lead on Lloyd Johnson’s 4-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

Dylan Martin capped the Rebels’ second scoring drive with a 1-yard reception from Rachal that made it 13-0 in the first quarter.

Rachal’s own 1-yard touchdown run made it 20-0 in the second quarter. Then the Rebels cashed in on a pair of big plays, first via the legs of Thomas Crouch – his 40-yard scoring run made it 27-0 – then on Rachal’s arm – Martin hauled in his second score from the quarterback from 59-yards away.

Riverside added second half offensive scores via Nathan Williams’ 36-yard run and Rachal’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Austin Vicknair. Kalen Jenkins also scored for the second straight week, taking a kickoff back for an 89-yard touchdown a week after taking a fumble return for a score against Fisher.

Thomas Jefferson scored three touchdowns in the second half on the Rebels’ second unit – Chris Smith, Paul Duhon and Nathan Savone each rushed for a score.

Riverside outgained Thomas Jefferson 386 to 201 in total yardage, and held TJHS to 54 first half yards.

“Our defense played well,” said Roussel. “We’ve seen a lot of the veer in the first few weeks, and when a team runs the option, you have to play your assignments, and we did that.

“It’s real important, especially because we know what we’re up against this week.”

That would be defending Class 2A champion John Curtis in a district showdown at Curtis.

“We approach it by doing what we normally do. And I know that’s easy to say, and tough to do,” said Roussel. “But the biggest obstacle is mental. You see 23 state titles, one in every classification but 5A. Overcoming that in your psyche…you can’t afford not to. And you need to play a perfect game to even have a chance.”