Riverside 'relevant', back in playoffs
Riverside coach David Hackney didn’t get his Pirates to the state playoffs by accepting half-measures.
That’s why Hackney scolded his team even after running past Roxboro Person 48-34 Monday night at Linny Wrenn Stadium and clinching a spot in the 4-A playoffs.
“Not satisfied,” Hackney said. “We could’ve played better football (Monday night). I don’t know if it was the layoff from not playing Friday or looking ahead, but I wasn’t satisfied with our overall play. We’re a much better team that we showed.”
Riverside (7-3, 3-1 PAC-6) wrapped up its first playoff berth since 2006 with a dominant ground game led by Joel Evans. The senior running back carried 23 times for 347 yards and four touchdowns against the Rockets, putting him over 2,000 yards for the season.
But there were definitely some issues for the Pirates in a homecoming game delayed from Friday. Riverside was penalized 10 times for 85 yards, and the Rockets (3-7, 1-3) had three players run for more than 100 yards.
“I’ll take a win anywhere I can get it, so I’m not going to complain too much, but I still think we can perform a lot better,” Hackney said. “We need a little bit of an attitude adjustment, and we’ll handle that in practice.”
Riverside scored on six consecutive possessions after a fumble in the first quarter and only punted once, in the fourth quarter. Evans scored on runs of 21, 11, 16 and 59 yards as he continually pounded the Rockets defense.
“He plays with a high motor,” Hackney said. “He runs extremely hard, and because he’s short, he’s extremely hard to tackle. The hard work he put in in the offseason is paying off. He’s a good kid, he’s a special player, and I’m lucky to have him.”
Evans (5-5, 190) showed speed and power against Person. On his first touchdown, he stiff-armed a Rocket defender to the ground to clear his way for the score and a 14-7 Riverside lead. On his final score, he broke through the Person defensive line and turned on the speed, running untouched for a 48-21 lead late in the third quarter.
“It’s being persistent,” Evans said. “I feel like I work hard all the offseason with my team — we all worked hard together. It’s motivation, drive, like I’m doing it for my team.
“There were lots of holes. The offensive line did great. They executed and were getting great push on the D-line, getting up to the linebackers and blocking.”
Person coach David Kleine was happy to see his team fight back, scoring the game’s final two touchdowns.
“This is a young ball club,” Kleine said. “We only have four or five seniors playing, on both sides of the ball. We showed some grit tonight. I know in years past, a Person High team would’ve given up, and we didn’t. We amassed some pretty good yards ourselves against a pretty good football team.”
Most of those yards were from three players: junior running back Corey Young (120 yards), sophomore running back Taymon Smith (112 yards) and junior quarterback Trevon Tapp (107 yards on the ground and 80 yards in the air).
Person, though, had 11 penalties, and Tapp threw two interceptions. Plus, the Rockets couldn’t handle Evans, helping Riverside clinch a playoff spot.
“It means a lot,” Hackney said. “It means a lot for my kids and a lot for the program. At the beginning of the season, I said I wanted to make us relevant again. Clinching a playoff berth — first time since ‘06 — and a winning season, that’s big for us.”
Riverside 48, Roxboro Person 34
R: Jonathan Rhew 15 run (Micah Goodwin kick), 7:17
RP: Trevon Tapp 1 run (Jacob Oakley kick), 11:41
R: Joel Evans 21 run (Goodwin kick), 9:09
R: Evans 11 run (Goodwin kick), 3:37
R: Deon Yarborough 16 pass from Diante Strothers (Goodwin kick), 1:13
RP: Corey Young 80 run (Oakley kick), :55
R: Strothers 3 run (kick failed), :09
R: Evans 16 run (Goodwin kick), 8:39
RP: Tapp 7 run (Oakley kick), 4:45
R: Evans 59 run (Goodwin kick), 4:00
RP: Tapp 2 run (kick failed), 9:25
RP: Young 19 pass from Tapp (Oakley kick), :45
RUSHING–Roxboro Person: Young 10-120, Smith 19-112, Tapp 19-107, Francisco Jimenez 1-(minus-2). Riverside: Evans 23-347, Cameron Roane 5-44, Rhew 3-35, Strothers 6-34, Darryl Smith 2-3.
PASSING–Roxboro Person: Tapp 7-14-2 80; Riverside: Strothers 2-4-0 17.
RECEIVING–Roxboro Person: Young 5-52, James Robinson 1-15, A.J. Cash 1-13; Riveside: Yarborough 1-16, Troy Hill 1-1.
Records–Roxboro Person 3-7, 1-3 PAC-6; Riverside 7-3, 3-1 PAC-6.