GW keeps rolling
About the last thing George Washington expected Riverside to do was open the game with a successful onside kick and then resort to a deliberate running game in an attempt to grind the clock.
Once GW adjusted, about the last thing the Warriors could afford to do was turn the ball over when the handcuffs were finally taken off quarterback Trevor Rumberg.
Unfortunately for Riverside (1-6), both came to fruition.
GW (6-1), ranked No. 4 in Class AAA, picked off Rumberg three times in the first half, one that resulted in a 66-yard interception return by Jordan Clay, as the Patriots - behind Ryan Switzer and Dustin Crouser - rolled to a 55-16 win in Quincy on a cold Friday night.
The initial shot in the arm Riverside got from the opening kick recovery quickly evaporated after a three-and-out and a Switzer 3-yard score on the ensuing GW drive. Clay's pick-six came next, and the Patriots were off to the races.
"We were able to make some things happen, get out front, and we were able to maintain that lead," GW coach Steve Edwards Jr. said. "We play the same kind of ball. If you turn the ball over, you don't give yourself a chance.
"We were fortunate enough to make big plays, we played pretty good in the secondary, which we should be able to, and we're going to have to especially in the next few weeks."
Compounding the Warriors' problems, Switzer was also back to putting up his usual video-game-caliber numbers, using his shiftiness to provide alleys in which to showcase his blazing speed.
The Kennedy Award winner rolled up 331 yards rushing on 21 carries, including two more touchdowns of 85 and 66 yards. He also returned a punt 61 yards for a score in the second half.
Also credit his backfield companion, Crouser, for 78 yards on five carries, including touchdowns of 2 yards and 1 yard.
Crouser, who will play for Division I Charlotte next year as a linebacker, also made 10 tackles, including two for loss.
"It was a great team win," Crouser said. "We struggled a little bit on special teams but our defensive team played well and our offense is phenomenal this year. It's ridiculous how good we're playing right now.
"It's always great to get the ball a little bit. Blocking for this guy [gesturing to Switzer] is fun, but I like to get a couple touches every now and then."
The duo spearheaded a GW ground attack that racked up 492 yards.
Meanwhile, the defensive unit of which Crouser spoke so highly limited Riverside to 211 total yards and harassed Rumberg all night to the tune of just 3 of 16 passing for 59 yards.
No small feat, considering Rumberg came into Friday with 1,208 passing yards, well on pace to break the single-season record at Riverside of 1,613 set by Josh Clark in 2004.
"He is a really good quarterback," Edwards Jr. said of Rumberg. "I really like the kid, he's a great competitor and he plays a nice safety, too. He's a good football player and he does a lot of nice things. We knew that coming in and he's every bit of what we saw on film, but to our kids' credit, they really played tough pass defense."
Meanwhile, Riverside coach Ralph Hensley had plenty of good things to say about Switzer and Co. as well.
"Four years ago, we kicked off to [Switzer] and he was a freshman and he took it to the house and I'm going, 'How can a guy be that good as a freshman?' " Hensley said. "He was that good then and I think he's a little faster now. He's a really good athlete.
"I just wish him luck in school and hope he takes care of himself."
Switzer resumed place-kicking duties on Friday for the first time this year. Edwards said the change was done in an attempt to keep getting better.
Brandon Halstead scored on a 3-yard run in the second quarter for Riverside, while Tyler Williams had a 15-yard touchdown run late in the fourth. William Jackson led the Warriors with 48 yards on 13 carries.
Jacob Jackson had 55 yards rushing on three carries, including an 11-yard score on a reverse for GW, which won its fifth game in a row by an average winning margin of 39 points per game.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/Rpritt.