Rebels take aim at return to quarterfinals

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 17, 2010



RESERVE — Riverside entered last week’s Class 2A bi-district playoff game against 25th-seeded Mangham determined to not be a first round upset victim — just as Donaldsonville was a year ago, to the then 25th seeded Rebels.

The Rebels’ 49-14 victory over Mangham Friday showed just how seriously they took the matter. But they’re faced with almost the exact same scenario a week later against Pope John Paul, the 24th seed which knocked off No. 9 Ferriday in the first round.

Pope John Paul will host Riverside Friday. The Jaguars have won four straight games and finished second behind Northlake Christian in District 8-2A.

Riverside coach Mickey Roussel said that Friday’s opponent loves to send multiple and varied formations out offensively and that his team must be ready to respond.

“They run about 30 different formations. For us, we have to make sure we’re lined up in the right places, don’t allow them to catch us in mismatches … I thought we played our best defensive game, against a pretty good offensive team in Mangham. We stayed disciplined, didn’t fall prey to their misdirection.”

The explosive Rebels put up more than 40 points for the ninth time this season. More big plays could be on the way this Friday. Pope John Paul brings pressure via the blitz often, giving the Jaguars chances to make big stops in the backfield — but also affording Riverside its chances to burn the defense for points.

“We’ll spread them out. We feel like we match up well,” said Roussel. “They’re gonna get you with that blitz a few times, take you down for losses, and we know that. But we’ve got to win our share of those.

“We’ll have five or six plays earmarked that we feel we can take advantage of in those situations and hit on some big plays. It’ll be a chess match, but we hope a win for us is a 50-yard touchdown pass or a 60-yard touchdown run. We feel like once our skill people get past the line, they have the speed to make it happen.”

The winner of this game will face the winner of Curtis/University, setting up a potential quarterfinals rematch between JCC and Riverside. The Patriots knocked the Rebels out of the ’09 playoffs.

Pope John Paul II kicker Teddy Macke’s 45-yard field goal was the difference in the Jaguars’ 17-14 victory over Ferriday in round one.

Pope John Paul pulled out all the stops in the win, converting fourth downs twice on trick plays from punt formation.

Their offense is led by quarterback Clyde Perkins and tailback Quinn Fiore.

As for Riverside, it enjoyed the same offensive dominance it experienced in the regular season, totaling 301 yards and four touchdowns before halftime. Much of it was fueled by Thomas Crouch. Crouch finished the night with 69 yards rushing on six carries, 139 yards receiving on five catches and two touchdowns.

Darnell Rachal orchestrated the near-perfect effort, completing 13-of-16 passes for 239 yards — including 180 yards in the first half — and three touchdowns.

The Rebel defense, which gave up only one offensive touchdown on the contest, forced the Dragons to go three-and-out on four out of their nine drives. The front seven appeared strong in particular, and senior defensive end Andrew Vicknair came away with two sacks and one quarterback hurry. Mangham finished the game with minus-four rushing yards.