Now No. 1, Rebs head to South Plaquemines

Published 3:13 pm Tuesday, October 22, 2013


LAPLACE — After its dramatic 35-28 victory over Newman last Thursday night in a battle between No. 1 and No. 2, Riverside now sits atop the LSWA Class 2A poll.
That said, Riverside coach Bill Stubbs said that he and his team stopped celebrating that victory on Friday and haven’t paid much mind to the polls — and perhaps for good reason. While the Rebel program has reached a new milestone, it came at a price, and adjustments must be made.
Riverside starting quarterback Deuce Wallace suffered a broken leg in the second quarter of the Newman win, finishing the first half while playing on what was thought to be an ankle sprain. Wallace threw a 47-yard touchdown pass after suffering the injury and also helped lead the Rebels on another touchdown drive before halftime. He was sidelined in the second half.
“He’s got a fractured fibula,” said Stubbs. “We’ve built this thing up on the idea of ‘next man up’ and that’s what we’ve done whenever we’ve lost guys this year. Of course, this is a little bit different. We’re losing a lot of leadership on the field.’
“But this is where you see what the character of your team stands. And this thing isn’t a one-man show by any means.”
Certainly not. The Rebels defense stole the show Thursday, limiting Newman’s explosive offense to a season low-point total. Furthermore, Riverside’s running game has been strong all season, even after the loss of Brandon Sanders, who began the season as the team’s starter.
But Wallace is a loss that must be accounted for as Riverside (6-1, 4-0) prepares to visit South Plaquemines (2-5, 2-2) in District 8-2A action this week. He led the River Parishes in passing a season ago as a freshman and was doing so once again this season prior to his injury.
Stubbs said he believes Wallace can – and will – see the field again before Riverside is done this season.
“I know how hard this kid works and what he’s made of. I think he’ll be back a lot sooner than anyone thinks,” said Stubbs. 
In his stead Thursday night was primarily sophomore Kendall Martin, who experienced some ups and downs after being pressed into action under a big spotlight. He led a scoring drive and rushed for a 13-yard touchdown in the second half, but also threw two interceptions.
“I thought he played admirably,” said Stubbs. “You go into a situation where Deuce got 80, 85 percent of the practice reps. Maybe in hindsight, that was a mistake. But I think Kendall will be markedly better this week with a lot of practice reps.
Stubbs noted the differences between the two sophomore passers. Wallace boasts a stronger arm, but Martin is more mobile.
“Deuce has that high-powered rifle for an arm,” said Stubbs. “Kendall is more of a side-arm thrower. He’s got a pistol. But both of those accomplish the same thing.”
Last season, South Plaquemines won a shootout in Reserve, 62-50.
“Right now, other people can talk about the ranking or what have you,” said Stubbs. “Our concern right now is we’re going down to South Plaquemines. They hung 60 on us last year. They embarrassed us. So now we’ve got to go down there … that’s all we’ve been discussing since the weekend, honestly.”
Riverside will have to deal with any adjustments it makes against a loaded box. South Plaquemines likes to crowd the line of scrimmage. That promises to bring more pressure upon the Rebel passing game, but also more opportunities for receivers like Herb McGee, Von Julien and Darrion Cook to make big plays.
“We’ve got to block ‘em. It still comes down to blocking and tackling, and we’ve got to get a hat on a hat,” said Stubbs.
South Plaquemines absorbed a 35-0 loss at St. James last week, one week after besting Carver 24-18. The Hurricanes have absorbed injuries at quarterback this season, and two weeks ago moved running back Tyler Martin to man the position.
He rushed for 134 yards and two scores against Carver, but the Hurricanes were not able to sustain the success a week later.
“We know they’re run oriented. Counters, dives, predominantly out of two receiver, two back sets,” said Stubbs. “We’ll have to go to work. It’ll be a physical game.”