Special team miscues do in Rebels against Curtis

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 9, 2010



RESERVE — Riverside will live to fight another day, said Riverside coach Mickey Roussel after his team’s 55-24 District 10-2A loss to Class 2A No. 1 John Curtis on Friday night.

But that truth didn’t make the night’s events any less frustrating to Roussel or his Rebels.

The Rebels moved the ball better than it has in recent years against the Patriots and indeed put points on the board — 24 more than doubles the 10 RA put up over two games against JCC a year ago.

But special teams play did No. 4 Riverside in. RA allowed two returns for scores, one on a kick, one on a punt. The Rebels also fumbled away two kickoffs, on both occasions leading to Curtis touchdowns.

“Special teams is something we spend a lot of time on,” said Patriots coach J.T. Curtis. “Johnny (Curtis) leads the way for us there and did a great job preparing them. (Riverside) is difficult to prepare for on special teams, but we were able to come up with some answers.”

Said Riverside coach Mickey Roussel: “You just can’t do the things that we did tonight. If we have to change some things, play some starters on special teams, put Darnell (Rachal) and Thomas (Crouch) back there, then that’s what we’ll do.”

Each team traded defensive stops before one of Curtis’ top playmakers made himself known. Josh Hanberry took a Riverside (5-1, 2-1) punt back 61-yards to make it 7-0.

Each team would turn the ball over; Jordan Frost intercepted Riverside quarterback Darnell Rachal, then Tate Scioneaux victimized JCC’s Brandon Bourgeois. Riverside got on the board via the leg of C.J. Edler, who capped an 11 play, 90-yard drive with a 27-yard field goal.

Curtis (5-1, 3-0) stamped out a potential momentum shift though on the ensuing kickoff, when Sherman Badle picked up a short kick, broke a tackle and raced 75 yards for a score with 8:43 left before halftime. Riverside’s problems snowballed when a fumble on the very next kickoff gave Curtis the ball on the RA 32, and eight plays later Quincy Smith was in for a 5-yard score, making it 21-3.

Curtis forced a three-and-out on the next RA possession and took over on the Rebel 46 after a punt. Raekwon James capped that drive with a 35-yard touchdown run to make it 28-3.

Riverside stirred before halftime, marching straight down the field and scoring on Rachal’s 5-yard touchdown run — that play was set up by a 24-yard completion from Rachal to Nate Williams.

“You don’t want to get into a scoring match, but they’ve got as much speed offensively as anyone we’ve played,” said Curtis. “And we’ve played some good teams. They’ve got a lot of weapons that teams will have to contend with.”

But the Rebels suffered due to another mistake to open the second half, fumbling away another kickoff. Curtis took advantage via a 15-yard touchdown pass from Bourgeois to Hanberry on the drive’s first play.

The Rebels scored twice from there, on a 9-yard Rachal run on its next possession and later on a 55-yard Thomas Crouch scamper.

But Curtis enjoyed the luxury of playing downhill all night.

“We didn’t give our offense a chance tonight,” said Roussel. “I feel like we have a pretty good offense and showed it tonight against a top team … but it’s frustrating. Everything we did tonight is correctible. We failed to win this week, but these kids are resilient, more so than we are. We’ll wake up tomorrow, at 5-1, and move on from here.”