Veron’s INT saves RA win over No. 1 Newman

Published 11:45 pm Friday, October 18, 2013


LAPLACE—The two top-ranked teams in Class 2A squared off Thursday night. It lived up to the hype.
Riverside overcame a ferocious fourth quarter rally by Newman and an injury to standout quarterback Deuce Wallace to emerge with a 35-28 victory, sealing things for good on Evan Veron’s interception of Jabiari Tyler in the endzone on the game’s final play.
Veron’s interception came on an untimed down at the Riverside 1-yard line after the Rebels were flagged for defensive pass interference on a Tyler pass intended for Justin Harrell in the endzone. It came after a wild sequence that began with Newman recovering an onside kick with 1:26 left.
Tyler completed a pass to Kendall Bussey and then scrambled for 10 yards with 59 seconds left. After a short completion to Harrell, he gunned a pass down the sideline that Riverside cornerback Xavier Ray deflected high into the air — and into the hands of the Greenies’ Dargan Macdiarmid at the Rebels’ 3-yard line. Riverside was then flagged for 12 men on the field.
Tyler attempted to score on a keeper but Riverside stopped him with the clock running. Without any timeouts remaining, Newman attempted to spike the ball, but was flagged for illegal procedure with one second left. Tyler grabbed the snap as soon as the officials signaled for time to resume and tossed up a desperation pass that drew an interference flag, setting up one final chance for Newman.
But Veron became the hero. He broke on Tyler’s pass over the middle, intercepting it cleanly and sealing the victory.
“I did my drop. We were playing Cover-2,” said Veron. “I’m supposed to go to the curl and tackle the flat, but I saw number one (Harrell) run the curl, so I jumped it,” said Veron.
Said Stubbs, “I’m so, so happy for him to do that because he played his guts out tonight. That was a fine way to end it. He just keeps getting better and better each week.”
It was a fitting end on a statement making night for the Riverside defense. The Rebels led 28-7 at halftime and 35-13 with 10:16 remaining in the game. Newman entered the night averaging 52.2 points per game.
Tyler finished with 246 yards passing and 150 rushing. He passed for two scores and rushed for two more. Riverside held Bussey, Newman’s stellar tailback, to just 22 yards on 13 attempts.
Riverside lost Wallace for the entire second half after the sophomore suffered an apparent ankle injury on a keeper run early in the second quarter. After coming out briefly, he stayed in the game until halftime. Wallace was on crutches on the Rebels’ sideline in the second half.
“I just told him that we had his back,’” said Veron.
Said Stubbs, “It’s unfortunate. He was on fire and on his way to a monster night … Right now, we don’t know his status. It could be a high-ankle sprain, but we need to take a closer look at it.”
Before leaving the game, Wallace completed 11 of 17 passes for 195 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Hardell Mack rushed 16 times for 91 yards to lead Riverside on the ground. DeAndre Wilson rushed seven times for 27 yards with two touchdowns. Darrion Cook caught two passes for 57 yards and a touchdown while Von Julien hauled in two catches for 56 and a score. Veron tallied nine tackles and two sacks to go with his interception.
With Wallace sidelined, the Rebels turned to the ground game in the second half to put things away.
If not for a trio of turnovers, Riverside might have done it earlier.
“Deuce Wallace is a phenomenal quarterback, as good as anyone in the state,” said Stewart. “But if you ask me, the MVP for Riverside tonight was their offensive and defensive lines. They showed you just how good they are tonight.”
That defensive line was buoyed by the addition of tackle Kim Solomon, who tallied 10 tackles in his first full game after transferring from Brother Martin.
“He can play,” said Stubbs. “We can’t even block him in practice.”
The first half was a Riverside showcase.
After stopping Newman (6-1, 3-1) on the game’s first possession, Riverside drove 63 yards and punched it via a Wilson 2-yard run to make it 7-0 with 4:58 left in the first quarter.
Riverside (6-1, 4-0) recovered a fumble to stop Newman’s next drive at the Greenies 45. On a third-and-16, Wallace rolled out and bought time before finding Julien downfield for a 51-yard touchdown pass.
“They had both of us (Julien and Herb McGee) on the left side. They were playing a Cover-2 sink,” said Julien. “I got a one-on-one matchup on the backside and Deuce put it up for me.”
After a third straight defensive stop, the Rebels got the ball back — and Wallace suffered his injury. After an errant snap exchange with Wallace out led to a punt, Newman was flagged for roughing the kicker. That resulted in a first down. Wallace returned, and on second-and-25 he dialed up Cook for a 46 yard score to make it 21-0 with 7:27 left in the half.
Tyler and Wilson each scored touchdowns for their teams to round out the first half. 
Riverside responded to a Tyler touchdown run early in the fourth quarter with one of its own, Martin leading the Rebels on an apparent clinching touchdown with 10:16 left, his 13-yard keeper making it 35-13.
But Tyler led Newman to a quick score less than a minute later, completing three passes for 80 yards, including a 46 yarder and a 12-yard touchdown to Tyler Addison. Newman converted a two-pointer to Addison off a deflection to make it 35-21.
The Rebels stopped Newman on the Greenies’ own 19 with 4:59 left to play, but a Martin interception — Riverside turned it over three times in the second half — gave the Greenies’ new life.
And set up a thrilling finish.
“I’ve never had a player like Jabiari Tyler,” said Newman coach Nelson Stewart. “He’s a kid that just … he fights, and fights, and fights until the end. It’s a testament to his heart, and the heart of this team that we fought back in it.’
“That heart and passion, that’s what high school football is all about.”