Riverside hosting Northlake Christian in first round playoff game

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Rebels (3-4), seeded No. 5 in the Division III playoffs, host No. 12 Northlake Christian (3-7) at 7 p.m. in Reserve.

The Wolverines, who hail from Covington, enter the game following a tough 42-14 loss last week to St. Helena, but recently tasted victory with an Oct. 27 14-8 victory over Pope John Paul.

Northlake Christian is led by a couple of two-way players in seniors Nicholas Martin-Morman and Wesley Brown, who have caught the attention of Riverside Academy coaches.

RA coach Chris Lachney said they are two of the more skilled players the Rebels have faced all year.

“(Martin-Morman) is a running back, athlete and wildcat quarterback,” Lachney said. “On defense, he plays safety. Wesley Brown, who is 5-9, 215, is a low center of gravity, bowling ball type kid. He is also a running back on offense and a linebacker on defense.”

Lachney said the Rebels are in a good spot with a strong demeanor, composure and focus.

“We’ve got a group of kids that have been through a couple of deep runs in the playoffs,” he said. “While there are a lot of different starters, there are a lot of kids that have heard the message over and over again. They understand playoff football. That can sneak up on teams sometimes if they are not disciplined or mature enough to handle a playoff situation. Our team is used to taking things one game at a time and that is what I am looking forward to.

Without getting into specifics about individual health concerns, Lachney said his Rebels are ready to compete.

“Our team has never looked at that as a reason we can’t do something,” he said. “It really is a next man up mentality. I don’t know if we could have handled any of our health situations any better than we have in terms of our coaches preparing our kids to get ready and our kids preparing themselves to get ready. We’re in a good spot, although we are not as healthy as we could be.”

Quarterback Jordan Loving enters the game completing 62 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions for 2,013 yards.

His top receivers are Kash Foley (692 yards) and Jeremiah Bigham (632 yards).

Louis Cheneau (327 yards, six touchdowns) and Jeremy Gibson (252 yards, four touchdowns) pace the Rebels’ ground attack.

On defense, Jared Hymel leads the team with 60 combined tackles. Zack Geiger and Jared Kenney are also often found around the football.