By: Jake Hood
MURFREESBORO– After several injuries set the Wildcats back in the first half, Riverdale ran away to yet another second round in a 40-0 win.
The Wildcats looked solid early, with Tristan Lewis marching his offense well into Warrior territory. However, a crucial interception led to Riverdale points on their following drive. Marcus Lloyd took charge of the Warrior offense in the first half, scoring the first two touchdowns of the game on seven and 54-yard rushes. However, Alberto Zarate’s second PAT was blocked.
From there, Brandon Connard bullied another ball into the endzone, making the score 20-0 before halftime, but this was not the biggest story of the first half.
The Wildcats lost two key factors to their success in the second quarter. Zavier Ali, who is now the outright owner of the single-season rushing record at Wilson Central, left the game for the remainder of the contest with an Achilles injury. On the other side of the ball, standout defensive back Corben Blount suffered a foot injury, the same thing that kept him out in 2019, causing him to stay out. This was a huge hit to Wilson Central, because Ali took the majority of the snaps on offense. This led to CJ Hatchett and a mix of young halfbacks taking snaps out of the backfield. Hatchett worked with the tools he was given, and he scrounged out 20 yards on 8 carries. Seaton Hapner, who saw more snaps late in the game, managed 2 rushes for 21 yards, but Ali still led with 10 rushes for 23 yards.
Lewis needed approximately 90 yards to break the single-season passing record, but the outstanding Riverdale secondary kept this from happening. Lewis finished 5-12 for 26 yards on a night where offense was hard to come by.
Jameson Holcomb, son of NFL QB turned Riverdale OC Kelly Holcomb, managed 209 yards and 2 scores on a 15-17 night. Those passing touchdowns came in the third quarter, as the Warriors bolted out to a 40-0 lead to the smoking of their traditional teepee. Lloyd and Connard combined for over 100 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground.
On defense, all three of Riverdale’s nationally-ranked defenders made their name known. Javon Nelson, and Elijah and Caleb Herring, and all played lights out defense. This was enough to hold the Wildcats to their first shutout of the year.
Wilson Central ends its season at 6-5 for the second consecutive year, and they will lose several key players, including their entire offensive line, Ali, Lewis, Hatchett, Blount, and several more. Riverdale looks to stay alive traveling to Hendersonville on Friday, November 13.