When coaches talk about distractions playing on the road, Riverside coach Mickey Roussel may want to give a clinic after what his Rebel’s went through at Pan American Stadium even before his team wrapped up the regular season with a 48-12 win against Clark.
First, the game itself was being played on Saturday, something Riverside had not done all season.
Roussel had already decided to sit a few key players for the first quarter after missing practice during the week and while his entire team sat in the bleachers waiting for a middle-school game to finish, a bench-clearing brawl erupted on the field.
Then when the Rebels did take the field to begin warm-ups, they discovered there no referees for the game. So while their opponents waited in the locker room, Riverside sat as a team in one end zone and waited. And waited. And waited.
What seemed like more like an hour, in actuality was about a 30-minute wait for the referees to arrive before the game could start.
“Yeah it was weird,” said Roussel. “I guess it’s a life-lesson for our kids to see (the fight) and realize that could happen to anybody, anywhere, at any age.”
Once the game did start, it didn’t take long for Riverside to make things happen scoring three rushing touchdowns in the first quarter to jump out to a 20-6 lead. The final two touchdowns of the quarter came on runs of 10 and 13 yards by freshman Brandon Hymel whose only two carries of the game resulted in touchdowns and to add to the most memorable game of his young early varsity career also registered an interception while getting the start at linebacker.
“We had to move some kids around because we had a couple of kids out the first quarter for missing practice during the week,” said Roussel. “So (Hymel) had an opportunity and he got two scores. Good for him, and he’s a freshman. Looks like he’s going to be a promising player.”
The Rebels continued the offensive onslaught on the undermanned, winless Clark team with three more touchdowns in the second quarter, taking a 41-6 lead into the half. Like Hymel, senior running back Nate Williams also scored a pair of rushing touchdowns and finished the game with 153 all-purpose yards (58 rushing, 45 receiving, and 50 on returns).
Riverside’s other two scores in the quarter came in the form of Tate Scioneaux touchdown passes, one to Brandon Millet (14 yards) and the other to Jeremiah Berteau (30 yards). Scioneaux finished the game 9-18 passing for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
Jonquial Sanders finished off the scoring for Riverside in the third quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run. The River Parishes sixth-leading scorer finished with 4 carries and 27 yards after missing the first quarter.
The win improves Riverside’s record to 7-3 and sends the Rebels into the post-season after a disappointing road loss a week ago at Newman.
“We think right now we’re in at 11 (seed in Class 2A),” said Roussel. “We think we’re going to have a home playoff game.
“You start off on August 1st and start setting your team goals and one of them is you want to get in the playoffs and hopefully have a playoff game at home. We got that so I’m pretty excited.
“I’m real pleased about our players. You know we lost a good senior class from last year so these kids are excited and hopefully we can play our best football next week and you never know when you get in the playoffs anything can happen.
In keeping with an alarming trend this season in the River Parishes, one of Riverside’s top players, Grady Geiger was injured when he tweaked an ongoing shoulder injury.
“We decided after the first quarter just to leave him out for next week and put ice on it,” said Roussel. “ It’s something that (Grady) has to play with. He gets that little stinger every know and then but he’ll be ok next week he’ll be back.