Riverside Academy, Class 2A’s top-ranked team, traded scores with visiting Barbe through most of the game until finally wearing down in the fourth quarter in the Rebels’ 45-28 loss Friday night.
“I thought our kids played hard,” Riverside coach Chris Lachney said. “We were down a little bit depth-wise. We are already pretty thin and we had some kids banged up. I was really proud of the way our guys stepped up and gave it everything they had. It was just a little too much of a mismatch up front in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
“We will get better from it and we play teams like Barbe because it makes you better and that’s what we plan on having the outcome of this game, too.”
When Riverside scored on a 1-yard run by Louis Cheneau with 1:18 left in the third quarter, the Rebels narrowed the deficit to 31-28.
It proved to be the last time the Rebels would score. Meanwhile, Barbe came up with two touchdowns in the closing seven minutes – on a 3-yard run by Jaivan Samuel and a 9-yard score by quarterback Luke Richard to make the final 45-28.
“We ended up turning the ball over twice late in the game with good field position but Barbe had a lot to do with that,” Lachney said. “They are a good team and I’m sure they are going to win a whole lot of games this year.
“We didn’t execute as well as we are capable of on offense or defense down there in the fourth quarter when it counted the most.”
Riverside finished with 332 total yards. Jeremy Gibson rushed for 101 yards but when taking sacks into account, the Rebels ended with only 78 yards on the ground.
“It’s a work in progress. We have four out of five new offensive linemen out there and they are still trying to find their way,” Lachney said. “They are getting better every time they go out.
“We’ve got two really good running backs that we like but Jeremy is coming off of a hamstring injury, so he’s kind of limited. Louis Cheneau is a very capable back but he’s been splitting his time as a linebacker as well.”
The Buccaneers amassed 515 yards of total offense against the Riverside defense. Dana Fontenot rushed for 114 yards and Samuel 108. Richard was 18 of 27 passing for 224 yards.
“We had a lot of guys play hard but it all starts up front, and it always does. We had some injuries to a couple of starters and sustained a couple in this game as well so it was a hodge-podge of a front that we were playing with but I don’t use that as an excuse, it’s just the reality of it. I was proud of those kids who stepped up and gave it their very best effort for their team. It just wasn’t good enough against those guys,” said Lachney.
After a Mason Caldwell field goal staked Barbe to a 3-0 lead, Riverside answered with a 79-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jordan Loving to Kash Foley to put Riverside on top 7-3 at the 6:56 mark of the opening quarter.
Loving finished 15 of 30 passing for 254 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Foley ended the game with 99 reception yards on five catches.
After a 19-yard touchdown run by Fontenot, Garland Robertson returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown as the Rebels led 14-10. A 43-yard pass from Richard to Keandre Turner gave Barbe a 17-14 edge after one quarter.
The only score in the second quarter came on a 17-yard run by Fontenot as the Buccaneers took a 24-14 lead to the locker room.