Rebels set to host Evangel

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, September 3, 2013


As far as hype goes, it’s been as big a two weeks period that Riverside Academy’s seen for quite some time.
Between last week’s jamboree matchup at neighborhood rival St. Charles and its upcoming home clash with perennial state power Evangel, the Rebels are perhaps becoming used to the spotlight.
“I think this game got overshadowed a little bit by the jamboree with St. Charles. And I’m not really a huge jamboree guy, but that was big for everyone,” said Riverside coach Bill Stubbs. “But I think this is a chance for fans to see two high-powered offenses go to work. This game is a bigger deal.”
The Rebels are ranked fifth in the LSWA Class 2A poll. Evangel is second in Class 3A.
Can Riverside stand up to the always super-powered Eagles? He said it depends.
“I really believe that if we put it together, we can,” said Stubbs. “But pulling the stuff we’ve been pulling over the last two weeks, if that continues, then no.’
“I still have a tremendous belief in these kids. But from one day to the next, we’re very inconsistent. We’ve got a group of very talented players, there’s no doubt about it. but to this point, we’re not a very talented football team, emphasis on football team. We haven’t put that last piece of the puzzle in. And I wish I could tell you we will on Friday. But I thought we would last Friday, and the week before that. It’s not that we aren’t hustling, but we’re out of position, we’re doing things we don’t practice.”
Evangel brings its signature shotgun spread stocked with a deep and talented group of receivers.
The key will be freshman Connor Curry triggering it all, the team’s new starter at quarterback.
“They’re young at quarterback. Of course, we had a freshman last season there in Deuce (Wallace), so we know that can work out well. Sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes it isn’t.’
“With a young passer like that, you always want to see how he responds to pressure. We’ll choose our battles there.”
Beyond that, it’s tantamount to the Rebels success that defenders limit Evangel’s yards after the catch. Sure tackling and staying in position will be key.
“The $64,000 question is that they’re gonna play pitch and catch. We know they’ll get underneath stuff,” said Stubbs. “We’ve gotta make tackles. It’s not rocket science. If we let them get rolling and we start missing tackles, we’re in a lot of trouble.”
A win would be huge for the Rebels. Many are looking for a deep playoff run for Riverside, and beating a team of Evangel’s caliber to begin the season would go a long way in establishing the confidence necessary to do so.
Stubbs said that when he looks at Evangel, and also St. Charles Catholic, he sees what the confidence that a traditional winner has yields.
“Evangel has a winning tradition. We saw it last week with St. Charles Catholic, too … those teams have an ability to ward off adversity. You’re going to see those situations five, six times or more in a game. Experience gets you through that. That’s what we’re trying to gain right now.”