Riverdale defense continues strong start with Backyard Brawl victory
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Riverdale defense continues strong start with Backyard Brawl victory

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Warriors force eight turnovers, score three times in rout of Blackman

MURFREESBORO – The power went out for a while at Blackman during the day on Friday.

It turned out to be a bad omen.

Riverdale’s defense turned the lights out quickly on the Blaze offense, forcing eight turnovers and scoring three touchdowns of its own in a 49-18 victory at The Inferno.

Alex Mitchell did the early damage, taking two interceptions back for 60-yard touchdowns and Brandon Corn added a 50-yard return in the fourth quarter.

The Warriors (3-0, 1-0 Region 4-6A) intercepted Blackman passers six times, including five from Blaze starter Jack Risner.

Two other interception returns and two fumble recoveries set the Warriors up deep in Blackman territory, all eventually resulting in touchdowns. Riverdale scored 46 points off seven of those Blackman turnovers.

“The whole defense was flying around,” Mitchell said. “I feel like our defense is our strong point.”

Blackman’s up-tempo offense met a fast Riverdale defense that stressed playing with speed themselves.

“Our guys play fast, that’s what we coach them to do,” Kriesky said. “That’s what we’ve been coaching them to do. They did a good job getting lined up. (Blackman’s) a good offense. I never was relaxed.”

Mitchell added, “They run two plays in like, 20 seconds. (Preparing for them) was all about tempo, tempo, tempo. We just had to get conditioned and ready for that.”

Jameson Holcomb tossed three touchdown passes, finding Marcus Lloyd, Elijah Herring, and Ryan Edmiston for scores.

Riverdale raced out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter after Mitchell’s first pick-six and Lloyd’s touchdown reception in the final minute of the period.

Blackman (2-1, 0-1) managed to end the Warriors’ shutout streak to begin the season when Kayvon Henderson powered his way in from five yards out in the second quarter. Riverdale had held opponents scoreless for the first 109 minutes and 50 seconds of their season.

Mitchell’s second touchdown put the Warriors up 23-6 and Herring’s scoring grab had Riverdale up 29-6 at halftime.

Penalties slowed the game’s pace to a crawl as the teams combined for 28 accepted infractions for 266 total yards. The Warriors were on the wrong end of 18 penalties, and Kriesky let his team know about it afterward.

“We’ve got to correct that in practice,” Kriesky said. “And that’s on me. I stressed that all week that I knew this could happen. This has gotten to be a big rival game. And we fell into the trap and didn’t control our emotions.”

Blackman had 10 penalties for 97 yards, most of them falling on the offensive side as the Blaze tried to combat Riverdale’s defensive speed.

“We had seven false starts,” Tygard said. “They’re so good on defense that we tried to change the snap count and had false starts ourselves.”

Blackman added a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Risner found Justin Brown for a 13-yard touchdown and Jaylyn Pleasant found the end zone from two yards out.

Lloyd took advantage with a 4-yard touchdown run following the game’s final turnover; one Riverdale recovered after a Blackman player touched a punt deep in the Blaze end.

Riverdale hosts Shelbyville next week, while Blackman travels to Summit.


Riverdale (3-0, 1-0), Blackman (2-1, 0-1)1st2nd3rd4thFinal


1st Quarter

R – Khalil Arman 25 field goal, 7:21.

R – Alex Mitchell 60 interception return, 6:37. Arman kick.

R – Marcus Lloyd 19 pass from Jameson Holcomb, 0:54. Arman kick.

2nd Quarter

B – Kayvon Henderson 5 run, 10:10. Kick failed.

R – Mitchell 60 interception return, 7:35. Kick failed.

R – Elijah Herring 8 pass from Holcomb, 3:15. Kick failed.

3rd Quarter

R – Ryan Edmiston 6 pass from Holcomb, 6:34. Kick failed.

R – Brandon Corn 50 interception return, 1:36. Arman kick.

4th Quarter

B – Justin Brown 13 pass from Jack Risner, 8:02. Pass failed.

B – Jaylyn Pleasant 2 run, 4:01. Run failed.

R – Lloyd 4 run, 1:39. Arman kick.

First downs1119
Pass attempts-completions-interceptions13-27-019-47-6
Passing yards150211



Riverdale: Marcus Lloyd 21-57, Israel Celestine 1-8, Seed Coleman 1-4, Lekoda Young 1-2, Jameson Holcomb 2-(-4), Braydon Woodruff 1-(-5).

Blackman: Jaylyn Pleasant 10-34, Kayvon Henderson 2-6, Peyton Thomas 1-3, Brynden Odom 1-1, Jack Risner 3-(-11).


Riverdale: Holcomb 12-25-0 150.

Blackman: Risner 12-37-5 158, Thomas 7-10-1 53.


Riverdale: Lloyd 3-58, Ryan Edminston 2-26, Lekoda Young 2-17, Mackey Bonds 1-15, Isaiah Knox 1-15, Coleman 2-11, Elijah Herring 1-8.

Blackman: Ben Marshall 6-85, Du’Mikah Dowdy 3-42, Pleasant 5-27, Justin Brown 2-22, Thomas 1-0.

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