While River Ridge couldn’t keep Chubb from continuing his historic season, as he could be on pace to break the state’s single-season rushing record, the Knights’ defense did enough to contain him in the second half, on the way to a 35-27 victory in the teams’ Region 7AAAA (A) opener.
“He’s a great running back. There’s no doubt,” River Ridge coach Robert Braucht said of Chubb. “We told the kids it was going to take 11 people to the ball in the second half to shut him down. We needed to play assignment football.”
Chubb finished the night with 37 carries for 254 yards and was actually held below his season average. He now has 1,670 yards on the season — an average of 278.3 per game — and is within striking distance of the state’s single-season record of 3,172 with four games and a potential postseason run ahead.
Chubb followed a long reception into River Ridge territory with his fourth touchdown of the game with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to extend the game, as an onside-kick attempt by the Bulldogs (4-2, 2-2) was recovered by River Ridge’s Wes Bearden to seal the victory.
The Knights (2-4, 2-2) trailed Cedartown 21-14 going into halftime, but it turned its fortunes around when Vince Njoku recovered a fumble on a mishandled punt and returned it 5 yards for the game-tying touchdown.
In the fourth quarter, River Ridge took a lead that it surrendered when E.J. Ellis broke a 44-yard run down to the 6-yard line. On the following snap, Ellis scored off left tackle to help the Knights to a 28-21 advantage.
On Cedartown’s next possession, receiver Tyler Kovington dropped a would-be first-down catch on fourth-and-2.
Njoku finished the damage, rushing in from 13 yards out with just over 2 minutes remaining.
Ellis and Njoku were quite the tandem, combining for 234 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
“Chubb is good, but my running backs aren’t too bad themselves,” Braucht said. “It’s not about being cocky or anything like that. We know where our limitations are. We aren’t about getting the ball to one guy or whatever. We are going to do according to what the defense gives us.”
Despite the win in the program’s first subregion or region game of any kind, Braucht is making sure his players aren’t getting ahead of themselves.
“All we need to worry about is celebrating this victory (Friday) and getting ready on Monday for whoever we play next,” said Braucht, whose team is entering its bye week before traveling to Cass on Oct. 19.