The Knights may have finaly found something Friday night.
Behind a ball-controlling, clock-chewing ground game, River Ridge owned the second half and claimed its first victory of the season with a 28-0 shutout of LaFayette.
“I’m happy for the kids and coaches, and excited for our school and our community,” Knights coach Robert Braucht said. “We finally see a light at the end of that tunnel.”
In today’s world of high-octane offenses, River Ridge (1-3) proved that a good old-fashioned methodical running game could still get the job done. The Knights gained only 215 yards on 53 carries, but they controlled time of possession — especially in the second half as they ran 36 plays, to just 19 for the Ramblers (0-3).
Leading 7-0 at halftime on E.J. Ellis’ 9-yard second-quarter touchdown run, the Knights ran 27 consecutive offensive plays after halftime, using up the entire third quarter on two backbreaking drives.
A 20-play, 66-yard march, capped by Steven Spears’ 2-yard sneak, took 9:07 off the clock. Then, after surprising LaFayette with an onside kick, a seven-play, 48-yard drive finished off the quarter with Michael Lewis scoring from 11 yards out.
“We’ve still got some things to work on,” Braucht said. “We know what we’re capable of as a program. We just have to get back doing to what we know how to do. We just have to get some consistency and keep going in the right direction.”
Spears picked up the last touchdown with 4:55 to play, returning an interception 21 yards for a score.
Ellis had a team-high 73 yards on 16 carries, with Austin Hounschell picking up 67 yards on 17 attempts. Spears was 5-of-12 in the air for 60 yards.
LaFayette managed just 102 yards on offense, 88 coming on 21 carries. KaDarrin Ramsey paced the Ramblers with 30 yards, all coming on one carry late in the game.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a few times and just didn’t execute very well (Friday),” LaFayette coach Chad Fisher said. “Give River Ridge a lot of credit. They came out and played a great second half.
“We did some good things early on, but just not enough of them. We just have to go back to work and be a little more physical, learn to battle, and give ourselves a chance to be successful.”