RA seeks to bounce back
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2011
By RYAN ARENA
RESERVE — Coach Mickey Roussel has seen his Rebels bounce back from losses like Friday’s 48-0 District 9-2A defeat at the hands of top-ranked John Curtis. Quite recently, in fact.
It was just last season that the Patriots upended the Rebels in lopsided fashion; a week later, the Rebels fell to rival St. Charles. But after that, Riverside won its next five to reach the state quarterfinals.
Roussel expects his players to have a short memory in similar fashion, a view emboldened by what he said was a strong practice on Monday.
“I wanted to see the intensity back at practice, and there was no hangover,” said Roussel. “Nobody was hanging their head. They all want to get back on the field.
“This senior class is one of the best I’ve had as far as leadership. We went out today and had a real good, crisp practice. We were in the same situation last year and we came out of it alright. I anticipate the same thing.”
Riverside (3-2) will play its homecoming game Friday as it continues district play, hosting Cohen (1-2). Cohen secured its first victory of the season last week, downing Clark 36-2. Its previous games saw it lose 45-0 to Curtis and 25-8 at Southern Lab.
“They were struggling before that game,” Roussel said of Cohen’s win. “They made some big plays, had a long interception return, a punt return, a fumble return. We can’t let that happen.
“My main concern is when you have homecoming, it’s always full of distractions. But the players we have, I expect we’ll be okay.”
Against Curtis, mistakes tend to be magnified, and that was the case Friday. In two games last season, including their quarterfinal loss to the Patriots, Riverside saw Curtis open up a big lead after a string of crucial Rebel mistakes.
Last week, Curtis led 7-0 after an 82-yard touchdown run by Sherman Badie. Riverside looked to have stolen back the momentum after an apparent interception by Josh Ladner, but a holding call on the line of scrimmage negated the play. Curtis (5-0) scored after regaining possession on a 13-yard scoring pass from Patrick Morton to Tre’ Perrier.
From there, things spiraled downward for the Rebels. Curtis recovered fumbles on two straight kickoff returns, scoring after the first on a Raekown James 22-yard touchdown run. Riverside stopped Curtis after the second on Tate Scioneaux’s interception of Morton in the redzone, but Riverside could not get its offense on track against a Curtis defense that controlled the line of scrimmage.
“It was a mismatch up front, and we expected as much,” said Roussel. “Everyone sees the skill players we lost, but we lost four really good lineman on each side of the ball. We knew we didn’t match up well with them at all there. So you want to force a couple turnovers and play smart football … but once you’re down by 20, all you can do is keep plugging away.”
Curtis led 34-0 at halftime.
Riverside began moving the ball better in the second half, but could not get on the scoreboard as drives stalled out in Curtis territory. Dropped passes plagued Riverside throughout the game.
Roussel said the mistakes were uncharacteristic and that he felt his team would do a good job correcting it going forward.
“Those things, an 82-yard run on a missed assignment, a holding call, two fumbles … we did those things to ourselves and buried ourselves in a hole,” he said. “We had been playing well. It wasn’t the culmination of a few weeks of bad play. But Friday, we just want to get back on track.”