Rebels draw Falcons in 1st round

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2013


LAPLACE — After securing its first district championship in 12 years, Riverside now looks to fry even bigger fish.
The Rebels officially begin their postseason quest to win a state championship Friday night at Mickey Roussel Field as No. 8 Riverside hosts No. 9 St. Thomas Aquinas in the bi-district round of the Division III “select” playoffs.
The winner of that game will hit the road to face top-seeded Episcopal.
St. Thomas Aquinas was Riverside’s opponent in its preseason scrimmage.
“They were good when we saw them and that’s still the case,” said Riverside coach Bill Stubbs. “They’ve actually gotten much better since then. They run a conventional Wing-T, and that’s something we don’t see a lot of.’
“A lot is going to fall on our defense, because this is the time of the year when good defensive teams survive and move on. It’s an area we’ve consistently gotten better in this season.”
The Falcons (8-2) were the runner-up in District 7-2A behind Northlake Christian. They’ve faced one common opponent with Riverside, Loranger; STA absorbed a season-opening loss, 28-20, while RA defeated Loranger 31-0 to earn its first win.
Incidentally, Loranger, Stubbs said, is the team whose offense mirrors the Falcons the most of the teams Riverside has faced.
The Falcons offense has been explosive this season, averaging 35 points per game. Backs James Cox and Ralph Haynes lead the way for the rushing attack, while Dillon Lee leads the team at quarterback.
In Aquinas’ 21-14 win over Springfield last week, the Falcons rushed for 247 yards on the ground, Haynes (8-2) pacing the team with 125.
Meanwhile, that opening 28 point total that Loranger posted is the highest mark against St. Thomas this season. STA has allowed no more than 20 points in any other game, including six games of 14 points or less.
Herb McGee appears to be the likely starting quarterback for Friday’s game as usual RA quarterback Deuce Wallace continues to rehab a broken leg suffered Oct. 17 against Newman.
Stubbs was noncommittal, though, when asked about Wallace’s estimated time for return.
“He’s out of the boot,” said Stubbs. “He’s walking pretty good. But you just don’t know … for us, things get a little clearer every day. We’re hopeful to get him back soon, but it’s a wait and see thing.”
McGee has played well in his two starts after shifting over from wide receiver, leading RA (8-2, 6-1) to wins over Carver and Sophie B. Wright. He accounted for two touchdowns last week, rushing for more than 100 yards and passing for 73. Riverside rushed for 343 yards on the ground, total.