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It’s been ‘open season’ for Riverside through much of 2017

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  • Feature Story
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  • George Becnel
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  • November 02, 2017 - 6:37pm

File photosChris Lachney and his Riverside Academy Rebels have an extra week to prepare for the start of the Division III playoffs with an open date on Friday night.

Few teams have had as much experience dealing with bye weeks as Riverside Academy.

A victim of their own success, few opponents can be found for the Rebels to fill out a full 10-game regular-season slate. Nine games have been more of the norm for Riverside the past few seasons but the Rebels were limited to only seven games in 2017 for varying reasons.

“I don’t think we’ve won a game coming out of a bye week yet so I don’t know if we have the right answers but we certainly have the experience,” Riverside coach Chris Lachney said.

The Rebels were only three games into the season before facing their first open date due to a scheduling snafu. After losing to De La Salle to fall to 1-3 on the season, Riverside’s district opener at South Plaquemines in Week 6 was cancelled due to Hurricane Nate. RA lost to Newman 31-30 in overtime the following week.

Riverside (3-4 was unable to find an opponent when its bye week in district play fell in Week 10.

Not all open dates are equal, according to Lachney.

“You are always in a different situation from week-to-week,” the Riverside coach said. “We are in Week 10 so the bumps and bruises…the need to get healthy is probably a little bit more dire than it was Week 4 or Week 6. From that standpoint, we got a chance to rest some guys and get some guys behind them some valuable practice reps in the event we sustain an injury.

“But in terms of getting our team ready and the guys that are going to play ready to play, it’s been pretty competitive this week. We’ve kind of set up some situations that have been competitive, whether it be in the kicking game or offense versus defense or situational, our kids have done a really good job with it and our kids have had some really spirited practices.”

Week 10 is uniquely different from the earlier open dates, Lachney said.

“Typically speaking, you would be preparing for an opponent right now so you don’t have time or energy to really look ahead and do the math and all that and figure out what everybody’s power rating is going to be,” said Lachney.

“Here we are in Week 10 with time on our hands so we’ve had a chance to do that,” he continued. “The way the power-point formula works, it’s obviously dependent on the outcome of games. So, you do have to kind of be a prognosticator a little bit, ‘if this team beats this time, I think we will play this team. If that team beats that team, then we might play this team.’ It’s all kind of up in the air. It’s very fluid.”

A midseason open date give a team two weeks to prepare for a specific opponent the following week. While the Rebels have the luxury of extra time to prepare and heal, there is uncertainty as to who they will play in the opening round of the playoffs.

“While, yes, we do have two weeks, we don’t know who the opponent is. We try to narrow it down as much as we can and do as much homework as we can on those two or three teams. When we find out on Sunday who we play, hopefully, we’ll have a little bit of a head start,” Lachney said.

George Becnel | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

George Becnel is an award-winning journalist and has been a sports writer and editor for more than 30 years.