Riverside Rolling Right Along

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, October 12, 2016

RESERVE — Riverside Academy coach Bill Stubbs isn’t the kind of coach who buys into all that rivalry stuff.

Oh, he knows the fans all get into it and enjoy making friendly wagers among coworkers, family members and neighbors and talking smack on the internet.

That’s all stuff for off the field, though.

To Stubbs, it’s what his team does on the field that counts, and even he has to admit to being pretty proud of where his team is.

The Riverside Rebels are 4-1 overall and ranked No. 5 in the state. Frankly, they are happy to be so after Friday night’s Uptown scare.

The Rebels certainly didn’t intend to be the cardiac kids Friday night at Newman, but they were.

“It wasn’t by design, I can tell you that,” Stubbs said. “It was just a combination of so many things. I can’t even put my finger on it to tell the truth.”

A few people were putting their fingers on their pulses Friday night as the early scores came in from Uptown.

Thanks to a slew of Riverside miscues, including a pair of fumbles and an interception, plus a solid game plan by the Newman coaching staff, the Greenies jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead over Riverside Academy.

Nothing Riverside tried worked, Stubbs said.

“We did everything we could to help them,” Stubbs said. “Obviously, I didn’t do a good job of getting them ready or something. But, hey, give them credit. They came out ready to play and we didn’t, obviously.”

After a nice little pep talk from Stubbs at halftime, though, the Rebels stormed back in the second half to one of the most incredible comebacks of this prep season.

Riverside came back to score 14 points in the third quarter and another 18 points in the fourth. Then the Rebels defense held the Greenies to nothing but a field goal in the second half on the way to a 32-24 win.

“We found a way,” Stubbs said.

Stubbs said the spark came when he elected to move Jared Butler to the quarterback spot. Butler, who had played sparingly due to an injury, gave the Rebels a little more versatility in the backfield.

“We have a little package for him to use back there with Jeremy Gibson and Hardell Mack,” Stubbs said. “That opened up a few things for us.”

That package might be counted on quite a bit down the stretch, although Stubbs said fans should not interpret the move to indicate that there will be wholesale changes from here on out.

Jordan Loving is still the quarterback, the team just has more options now with Butler.

They will need them.

Riverside is about to dive into the depth of its district schedule with games against West St. John, St. Charles Catholic and Country Day coming in consecutive weeks.

“We’re not going to change anything,” Stubbs said. “We’re not going to change from what we’ve been doing. We have to get better. We have to stay focused. I think we’re pretty close to being where we need to be.”