Rebels travel to bruising Homer

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, November 6, 2012



RESERVE — Riverside had an uphill battle ahead of it to reach the postseason after its 0-4 start to the season.

Today, one might call the Rebels mountain climbers. They find themselves in the Class 2A field after officially punching their ticket with a dominating 65-0 win over Clark last week.

The Rebels (4-5) sport one of the state’s youngest teams, but enter the playoffs winners of four of their last five, with a three-point loss to Carver as the lone blemish on that mark.

Riverside, the No. 25 seed in Class 2A, is now set to travel to face No. 8 Homer on Friday night.

Homer (8-2) is the champion of District 2-2A and will attempt to fend off an explosive Riverside offense with one of their own. Homer has scored 32 points or more in eight of 10 games this season.

The Pelicans opened their season with an impressive 40-20 victory over an 8-2 Farmerville team. It’s losses came against Class 1A Haynesville and fellow 2A foe North Webster; the latter is the No. 17 seed in 2A.

Since Riverside began 0-4, the Rebels have scored no less than 33 points in any game and have topped 65 points twice. Riverside averages 36 points per game this season. Deuce Wallace has passed for over 2,000 yards as just a freshman. Jonquial Sanders is coming off of back-to-back monster performances — he’s gained 392 all-purpose yards and scored seven touchdowns over the last two games.

Wallace completed 10 of 13 passes for 140 yards and three touchdowns in that game, while Herb McGee hauled in two scores from him. JuJuan Bell rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.

The Rebel defense will have much to do with whether Riverside advances. Riverside coach Bill Stubbs said that his squad must to be ready to deal with a very, very physical Homer team.

“They play a different brand of football in that region,” said Stubbs. “They present some challenges for us, but nothing that we haven’t seen. They’re big up front. Their running back is very good and their tight end is excellent.”

Darien Dunn is Homer’s marquee player. He rushed for 133 yards and three touchdowns in the Pelican’s 38-26 win over Sterlington Friday.

Stubbs said that controlling field position will have even more importance than usual.

“Against a run-heavy team, you’d really like to win that battle and make them drive 80 yards as much as possible,” said Stubbs. “The more plays they have to run, the better the chance of a mistake.”

Despite the fact that the vast majority of Rebel starters will be seeing their first playoff action, Stubbs said that he’s optimistic about his team’s chances to score an upset.

“The kids have been maturing. They’re understanding how to handle situations, both good and bad,” he said. “I feel good about our chances.”