Sanders, Scioneaux step up, lead Rebels past DeQuincy

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 12, 2011

RESERVE — For a little while, it appeared Riverside might have a more difficult time than expected with DeQuincy in the bi-district playoff game between the teams Friday night.

But though it took almost a quarter for Riverside to strike, strike it did — maybe not early, but certainly often in a convincing 42-12 victory at home.

“This is a team and this is a program that always starts to pick it up at playoff time. We’ll celebrate this one then get back to work … it was a real team-wide effort, which is what you want this time of year.”

Said Riverside quarterback Tate Scioneaux, who accounted for four touchdowns: “There’s no better feeling than winning in the playoffs. It feels real good.”

Riverside (8-3), the No. 11 seed, will visit University Lab next week in the regional round.

The Rebels lost leading rusher and receiver Nate Williams early on with an injury — Rebels coach Mickey Roussel said Williams sat for all but the first series as a precaution, and sounded optimistic that he wouldn’t miss time.

But in his stead stepped up tailback Jonquial Sanders, who provides the regular one-two punch with Williams in the RA rushing attack. Sanders scored three touchdowns, including two receiving touchdowns.

“I told J, ‘you have to step up,’ and he did,” said Scioneaux.

Scioneaux also made a big impact in his first postseason start as the team’s quarterback. He threw three touchdown passes and ran for another.

DeQuincy (5-6) was able to drive into Riverside territory in four of its first five drives — but each time, the Rebels came up big, forcing a turnover.

The momentum of the game shifted to Riverside for good after one of those, an interception by Lucas Martin on a third and 22 play at its own 47. DeQuincy had reached the RA 41 before a 15-yard illegal block penalty set back the drive.

Sanders made the Tigers pay. He ripped off a 43 yard run up the middle to set up a 4-yard run by Gerald Songy to make it 7-0 with 27 seconds left in the first quarter.

The teams traded punts to begin the second. DeQuincy had just crossed the 50 when the Rebels forced a fumble that was recovered by Josh Ladner at the Riverside 47. Sanders began this drive like he did the last scoring drive, by exploding for a long run, this one a 42-yarder. He’d run 3 times on the drive for 53 total yards, capping it with a 5-yard score to make it 14-0 with 5:30 before halftime.

That opened the floodgates. The Rebels forced another punt, then generated another three-play scoring drive when Scioneaux hit Sanders on a pretty pass up the seam. It went for a 58-yard score, Scioneaux’s first completion of the night, and made it 21-0 with 2:39 left in the second quarter.

“Our offense exploded in the second quarter. The defense held early, forced four turnovers, then we were able to kind of put the dagger in them. That was big.”

Another 3-and-out ended in disaster for the tigers when a shacked punt went for a net of 10 yards and left Riverside to take over on the Tigers’ 31. For the third straight possession, RA scored in three plays, this time Scioneaux connecting with Jeremiah Berteau, who got behind the defense in the endzone for a 30-yard score.

“I wanted to come out and carry my team, carry it for Nate,” said Sanders. “He’s a brother to me. All of my teammates are like brothers.”

The 28-0 score held at halftime.

DeQuincy started all of its first half drives from its own 20 or inside of it — in fact, all but one drive began from inside the 20.

Riverside scored on its first drive of the second half to all but put the Tigers away. Scioneaux hit Von Julien on a deep post for 55 yards, setting RA up at the DeQuincy 7. Scioenaux called his own number and scored on a 5-yard keeper to make it 35-0.

The Rebels would add one more score in the early fourth quarter, a second touchdown connection between Scioneaux and Sanders. DeQuincy scored on a touchdown run by Patrick Dietz and a touchdown pass from Jaleel Bridges to Kaleb Hollie.