The trio of E.J. Ells, Austin Terrell and Vince Njoku combined to run for 285 yards, while the Knights’ defense forced four turnovers and tallied four sacks in the victory.
“I thought the defense played well, and the offense made mistakes that could have cost us, but we did enough to win the ball game,” River Ridge coach Robert Braucht said. “The kids are really starting to understand what they are being coached. And, as coaches, we are seeing that, if we keep things simple, that these kids can play with anybody.”
The simple approach River Ridge (3-4, 2-0) had on offense meant a heavy dose of the running game — running 42 rushing plays to just three passes.
But it was an early pass from Steven Spears that swung some momentum to River Ridge.
Trailing 7-0 with 1 second to play in the opening quarter, Spears carried out a series of run fakes before stepping back and finding Terrell streaking wide-open towards the end zone for a 25-yard score. Brock Harris’ extra point skipped over the cross bar to tie the game at 7-all through one quarter.
From there, it was all River Ridge.
Terrell scored on a 14-yard sweep to give the Knights a 13-7 lead at the half, and Ellis rumbled in from 8 yards out to give the Knights a 21-7 lead at the end of three quarters.
With the lead in hand, River Ridge’s defense was able to frustrate a Cass offense that was averaging more than 28 points per game coming into the night.
Spears and Chris Robinson each intercepted Cass quarterback Brandon Etheridge, and the Knights forced a pair of fumbles — one coming inside the 2-yard line.
Etheridge led Cass with 185 yards passing and 88 on the ground. Kelin Wells caught seven balls for 92 yards and a late touchdown.
Njoku and Terrell added fourth-quarter touchdown runs of 57 and 41 yards, respectively, to put the game out of reach and bring the Knights a 35-14 victory.
Njoku led all rushers with 124 yards on 12 carries. Ellis added 109 yards on 23 carries and Terrell had 64 of his own on six carries.
The win set up River Ridge with an even bigger game against the subregion’s only other unbeaten team, Gilmer (6-1, 2-0), at home next Friday.