- Spring Practice
- George Becnel
- May 18, 2013 - 9:17pm
Forget playing for pride. The Riverside Academy Rebels were playing for pies late Saturday afternoon.
The Riverside offense trailed the defense 27-26 at the start of the fourth quarter and was looking to rally in order to exact revenge on the defense after losing a year ago in the inaugural Pie Bowl to end spring practice.
Featuring four, eight-minute quarters, the Rebels deffense used up the first 4:40 of the final period before Dandre Wilson barreled up the middle for a 15-yard touchdown run and a 33-27 lead for the defense.
On the very next play, Rebels quarterback Deuce Wallace hooked up with his third long touchdown strike to Von Julien, this one of 70 yards for a 40-27 lead with 3:04 left in the game. Earlier in the game, Wallace and Julien connected on scoring tosses of 80 and 50 yards.
“The last throw was a perfect play from the coaches. It was wide open. All I had to do was get it to Von and I knew he would make the catch and he just burned the defense,” Wallace said of the clinching score.
The defense closed the cap in closing seconds, making the final 40-34 in favor of the offense.
For all of Wallace’s big throws, his top effort may have come after the game when he pelted linebacker Evan Veron with a pie.
“That was the best one,” Wallace laughed. “He got me last year. I definitely wanted to get him back.”
“I got Deuce last year and he got me this year. Its fun,” said Veron.
The Pie Bowl was instituted a year ago by coach Bill Stubbs during his first season as Rebels coach as a way to end spring practice on a light-hearted note.
“That gets the competitive juices (going), among the coaches, especially. It’s all in good fun,” Stubbs said.
The scoring format for the offense was traditional in terms of points for touchdowns, field goals and extra points. A scoring system was created for the defense that gave the unit varying points for defensive stops, drives that ended in a three-and-out, and for turnovers.
Pie Bowl II began with the offense looking to run the football. The offense moved the ball with seveneral nice gainers before eventually fumbling.
“That’s what we have to do. Last year, we were quick scoring and we were putting the defense back out on the field. We have to have the ability this year to be able to control the clock a little bit,” Stubbs said of an increased emphasis on the running game.
The defense dominated early, jumping out to a 10-0 lead. A big early play for the defense came on the final play of the first quarter on Jordan Andrews’ interception of a Wallace pass at the defense’s 5-yard line.
“I think we started slow on offense but I liked the way the defense is coming. They (the defense) really are making us much better,” Stubbs said.
The offense made it 10-7 when Wallace tossed to Julien on a third-and-20 play from the offense’s 20-yard line. Julien hauled in the pass about 5 yards downfield and the fleet receiver blazed a total of 80 yards for a touchdown.
“We know that game will be good to us,” Stubbs said of the Rebels’ passing attack. “We have some dynamic players out on the edge. As Deuce progresses and the timing gets better…we did this in nine days (of practice) and the timing was off – and it happens – but it will get better and better.”
Wallace’s 50-yard strike to Julien with 1:39 left before halftime tied the game at 14-14 before the defense rebuilt a lead of 19-14 at the break.
With the second units starting the third quarter, reserve quarterback Kendall Martin tossed a 72-yard touchdown pass to Kameron Bailey and Martin later broke loose on a 64-yard run to give the offense its first lead of the game at 26-21.
Again, the defense came up with several stops to take a scant 27-26 edge heading into the fourth quarter.
A year deep into the Stubbs era, both coaches and players agree the team is light years ahead of where it was compared to last May.
“It’s because of the workouts. It’s the workouts, our work ethic, leadership and toughness,” said Veron.
“It wasn’t a touchy-feely go-around this time,” Stubbs said. “We held their feet to the fire and they responded. I’m proud of them.”