It’s been 10 years since Riverside started a football season 2-0, but that’s what the Warriors are aiming at Friday when they travel to debuting Huntington.
Riverside finds itself in that position thanks to last week’s 38-8 victory at Woodrow Wilson, a game in which the Warriors ran for well over 400 yards and turned in three 100-yard rushers.
The Warriors dominated the line of scrimmage in their opener, holding the Flying Eagles’ power running game to 45 yards on 20 carries.
“They gave us everything we thought we would get,’’ Riverside coach Alex Daugherty said of Woodrow’s no-nonsense run game. “We made adjustments during the week and adapted to that type of play. You don’t see that a lot in our conference, hardly ever, except for Spring Valley. The kids responded well and did their job. We came out on top because of that.’’
As usual, when Riverside puts up big numbers on the ground, Caden Easterling was in the forefront. The senior tailback, gunning for his third straight 1,000-yard season, led the Warriors with 255 yards on 24 carries and scored touchdowns on runs of 10, 17 and 65 yards. However, Easterling wasn’t the only big contributor this time.
Fullback Charlie Pierson rolled up 116 yards on nine carries, including a 65-yard scoring burst and quarterback Javante Elzy added 107 yards on eight attempts with an 84-yard TD sprint. That gave Riverside a 20-8 lead at the end of the third quarter.
“It takes a lot of success up front to be able to do that,’’ Daugherty said, “to have three 100-yard rushers. We’ve worked really hard with our linemen the last couple of weeks to get things ready, and it finally all came together. We saw how lethal it can be if it’s run right.
“We’ve still got a ton of mistakes we’ve got to fix, but it’s starting to come together. The first two scrimmages, we were not good at all, so we really challenged those guys and they responded. Now we just need to get better.’’
Riverside hasn’t made the Class AAA playoffs or had a winning season since going 7-4 in 2007. So a quick start this season could get the Warriors headed in the right direction.
Against Huntington, they’ll be facing a team that’s hard to beat running the ball. In last year’s 24-8 victory against Riverside, the Highlanders allowed the Warriors only 27 yards on 28 carries.
“We’ve just got to continue being more physical than our opponent,’’ Daugherty said. “That’s one thing we’ve got to hang our hat on as a program here — attack each play. You can’t take plays off. Have relentless pursuit, have consistency and have the mentality that you can’t be stopped. If we improve in our physicality, the sky’s the limit.’’
After Huntington, the Warriors are scheduled to hold the first home game on their new artificial turf field, Sept. 13 against Ripley. Following a bye week, Riverside hosts St. Albans on Sept. 27.