- Feature Story
- Game Preview
- George Becnel
- October 17, 2017 - 8:27pm
Riverside Academy’s dramatic 31-30 overtime loss to Newman last Friday might look a bit different to the beholder depending on where he happened to be in the stadium.
“As a fan, there was a lot to appreciate. As a coach, you look back and see things you could have done better. Just like after a win, you have to move on,” Riverside coach Chris Lachney said.
The Rebels move on to host Fisher on Friday with both teams being 2-5 overall, including 0-1 in District 8-2A play.
Riverside’s schedule has included heavyweights like of Barbe, Rummel, De La Salle and Newman. By contrast, the Gators have faced a slate featuring the likes of St. Martin’s, Haynes Academy and Riverdale.
While Fisher may have faced a less demanding schedule, the Rebels can in afford to take an opponent lightly, according to Lachney.
“Something I think that is a double-edge sword,” the Riverside coach said. “What we can’t fall into is the trap of us letting who we are playing affect how we play.
“I talk to our kids all the time about how our tough schedule being what could be your greatest strength turning into your greatest weakness in that you know where you’ve been and you know who you’ve played against and then you play a team, on paper, that might not be as good as those teams and you kind of let yourself down a little bit.”
Fisher is similar to Newman in terms of schemes, Lachney said.
“They are much like Newman x’s and o’s wise,” said Lachney. “They just have a tight end in the game instead of a fourth receiver.
“They line up in pretty basic formations. It shouldn’t be hard for our kids to get lined up. It’s just a matter of can we understand who we are. I always talk to our kids about being a piece to a puzzle. If we can be the right piece in the puzzle, we ought to be OK defensively. It all comes down to alignment.”
Directing the offense is quarterback Dylan Doucing. The main threat out of the backfield is Chance Anderson. When the Gators break from their four-receiver set, Evan Oliver is generally the tight end.
“They line up in pretty basic formations,” Lachney said of the Fisher offense. “It shouldn’t be hard for our kids to get lined up. It’s just a matter of can we understand who we are. I always talk to our kids about being a piece to a puzzle. If we can be the right piece in the puzzle, we ought to be OK defensively. It all comes down to alignment.
“One thing we tell our kids defensively all the time is that if you don’t start off in the right place, it’s real hard to end up in the right place. When you don’t line up correctly, it makes it real hard to execute the job and be the piece of the puzzle that the defense is asking you to be.
The Gators are pretty basic on defense as well.
“They will be a 4-3 with one safety,” Lachney explained. “They will mix it up a little bit whether they are playing man-to-man or zone coverage but the middle of the field will be occupied by a safety all night.
“Whenever you play a scheme that has one safety in the middle of the field, that lends yourself to being able to stop the run a little bit better. Typically speaking, playing and eight-man front – obviously, they have to adjust to formations and receiver and whatnot – but the concept is an eight-man concept, which will put a challenge on us to be able to run the football against unfavorable numbers in the box. I think our kids are up for the challenge.”
Fisher’s top defender, Lachney said, is safety Aaron Saulino.
Although the loss to Newman dropped Riverside to 1-4 on the season, Lachney said he has seen improvement from his Rebels.
“I know it was two weeks, but if you look at our body of work from out last game against De La Salle to Newman, I know I saw progress from where we were, especially defensively. While we didn’t play a lights-out defensive game at all, I did see some improvement from out defensive front from the De La Salle game to the Newman game,” said Lachney.
The Rebels need to refocus on the one-game-at-a-time concept, Lachney said.
“It’s not, ‘oh, no, we lost again,’” the Riverside coach said. “Every game is one game at a time, one practice at a time and one rep at a time. If we stay focused and do a better job of focusing on being where our feet are instead of where we want to be or where we think we need to be, I think that will help us in the long run.
“It’s good to look ahead and have a goal, but we have to focus on right here, right now. We have been kind of deficient at that. That starts with me and I will do a better job of getting that team ready to play.”