Riverside won’t look past Fisher as key district clash with Newman approaches

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, October 7, 2014


It’s the game everyone circled from before the season ever began in District  8-2A: Riverside at Newman, a battle to likely decide the league’s ultimate champion. 

But there’s one more week until that is settled, and Riverside coach Bill Stubbs believes that in order for his team to have its best chance of success against the Greenies, it must turn all of its focus to preparation for Fisher, which Riverside hosts this Friday night.

The Rebels will be heavy favorites over the 1-4 Gators, but much like last week, Stubbs believes his players putting their collective energy into the process  of getting ready for this Friday night is what can ultimately drive Riverside to reach its overall potential.

“We’re not changing anything from how we approached last week’s game,” Stubbs said of Riverside’s 68-8 win over Cohen. “We know we have a lot of things we want to achieve over the next few weeks, and to do that our focus has to be on ourselves and what we can do today, not two weeks from now.”

Fisher won its opening game this season against Louisiana Science Academy, 32-22, but has dropped four straight since then, to Shaw, Covenant Christian, Carver and St. James respectively.

Riverside (5-0) has upped its offensive output each week of the season, scoring 36, 37, 44, 63 and 68 points in succession. That’s good for an average of 49.5 points per game.

Plenty of help in the scoring column has come from the team’s defense and special teams, those units combining to score at least one touchdown every week thus far. But the offense has been on point, and much of that success comes from its balance.

Another is experience: while the Rebels are still a young team in many respects, it’s also one that’s seen a core of players grow up together over the past three seasons, some of which entering the lineup as freshmen and 8th graders. 

“That’s kind of an extension of our personalities and how we’ve tried to coach this team in all areas,” Stubbs said. “These kids are really starting to reap the benefits of the work they’ve put in for years in this program.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who can hit top speed on a dime and go, and that makes a big difference,” said Stubbs. “We’ve got kids who are always just one step away.”

One wrinkle the Rebels have offensively is it’s “changeup pitch” at quarterback: at times, Riverside calls upon receiver Herb McGee to spell starter Jordan Loving at quarterback. McGee started twice at QB last season and offers a major running threat.

“We’ve been developing that option as the year has gone on,” Stubbs said. “Some kids come in and they just want to work at a specific position. Herb wants to touch the ball every play, if he can. He’s just that type of kid, and he treats it like an honor. He throws himself into it. He’s a tremendous athlete, a competitor and it’s another way for us to get the ball in his hands, where he can do some really great things.”