Riverside rips Cleveland behind Joel Evans' 419 yards, 6 TDs
Joel Evans scored six touchdowns and Riverside overcame two early fumbles to beat Cleveland 63-49 on Friday night and win its third straight game.
“We showed tremendous fight,” Riverside coach David Hackney said. “We just don’t quit. We got back in it and we were able to get some stops in the second half. We run a grind-it-out offense but tonight was one of those nights when we were able to bust it open.”
The shortest of Evans’ touchdown runs was 36 yards on a night when he rushed for 419 yards. His total yardage on the six touchdown runs was 349 yards, including a long of 81 yards.
“It was a great team effort and I couldn’t have done it without my O-line,” said Evans, who only carried the ball 12 times. “It was a great experience. We were down at halftime but we came back and won it.”
The victory gave the Pirates four wins, the most since 2009. It also marked the highest point total for Riverside since 2004 when the Pirates beat Wake Forest-Rolesville 47-7.
Cleveland jumped out to a quick lead as the Rams’ defense took advantage of a Riverside fumble deep in its own end. Malik Vick scooped up an errant Riverside pitch and rambled 18 yards for Cleveland’s first score.
Riverside suffered another fumble on it next possession and Cleveland again exploited the Pirates’ misfortune. Rams running back Issac Martin, who also lit up the scoreboard with four touchdowns, scored on a 32-yard run to make it 14-0.
Evans got Riverside’s offense going with his 66-yard scoring run to cut the Cleveland lead in half. But Martin answered with a nine-yard run to rebuild Cleveland’s lead back to 14 points.
After Riverside cut the lead back to a touchdown on Evans’ 36-yard run late in the first quarter, the Rams put together back-to-back scoring drives to go up 35-14.
Riverside avoided disaster on the last play of the half with Cleveland’s Corey Brown had a pass go through his hands in the end zone.
The Pirates then came out and forced the first of two interceptions in the second half as Jawan Williams picked off Aaron Farmer and midfield and returned it to the 36. That turnover led to a a one-yard touchdown sneak by Dionte Strothers.
The Pirates defense then held on fourth-and-11 deep in their own end as Cleveland made it to the Riverside 19. Two plays later on offense, Evans broke free for an 81-yard touchdown and the Pirates tied the game at 35-35 after a two-point run by Strothers.
Riverside’s defense came up with another big play to snuff out a Cleveland scoring chance when Marcus Willoughby blocked a 31-yard field goal attempt with a rush through the middle of the Rams line.
Riverside took its first lead at 42-35 on Evans’ 67-yard scamper but it took another two-yard touchdown sneak by Strothers to give the Pirates the lead for good at 49-42. A 23-yard interception return by Darryl Smith then gave Riverside a 56-52 advantage and the breathing room it needed to hold on for the win.
RIVERSIDE 63, CLEVELAND 49
Riverside |14 |6 |22 |21 — 63
Cleveland|21 |14 |0 |14 — 49
C — Malik Vick 18 fumble return (Paul Johnson kick)
C — Isaac Martin 32 run (Johnson kick)
R — Joel Evans 66 run (Micah Goodwin kick)
C — Martin 9 run (Johnson kick)
R — Evans 36 run (Goodwin kick)
C — Patrick Jesequel 25 pass from Farmer (Johnson kick)
C — Aaron Farmer 6 run (Johnson kick)
R — Evans run 43 (pass failed)
R — Dionte Strothers 1 run (Goodwin kick)
R — Evans 81 run (Struthers run)
R — Evans 67 run (Goodwin kick)
C — Martin 20 run (Johnson kick)
R — Strothers 2 run (Goodwin kick)
R — Darryl Smith 23 interception return (Goodwin kick)
C — Martin 1 run (Johnson kick)
R — Evans 56 run (Johnson kick)
RUSHING — Riverside, Joel Evans 12-419, Diante Strothers 8-30, Jonathan Rhew 1-0, Cameron Roane 2-(minus-2), Stephan Jacobs 1-49. Cleveland, Issac Martin 42-335, Aaron Farmer 21-174.
PASSING — Riverside: Strothers 1-4-0 43. Cleveland: Farmer 17-27-2 143.
RECEIVING — Riverside: Deon Yarborough 1-43. Cleveland: Patrick Jesequel 8-67, Greg Tyler 3-33, Corey Brown 3-43.
Records — Riverside 4-2, Cleveland 3-3.