By Cody Junot
LAFAYETTE – Riverside Academy’s season came to an end Friday night at the hands of the seventh-seeded Ascension Episcopal Blue Gators as the Rebels fell 35-13.
Friday evening was the tale of two halves for the Rebels.
In the first half, both teams traded blows, each countering the other, forcing a stalemate for much of the first 24 minutes.
Offensively, Riverside was able to move the ball on the ground, rushing for 133 yards before the break, including a 34-yard touchdown run by Louis Cheneau in the first quarter. His touchdown tied the contest 7-7, but it would prove to be the only touchdown of the night for the Rebels.
After a 12-play drive that took up a good chunk of the second quarter, Riverside took the lead with 2:10 to go in the half. Colton Wilson knocked home a 34-yard field goal, but the lead was short-lived. AES embarked on a 10-play, two-minute touchdown drive at the end of the second quarter, giving the Blue Gators a 14-10 lead at the break.
Despite racking up 133 rushing yards in the half, much of which came following first contact by Blue Gator defenders, the second half was a totally different story for the Riverside offense.
Following second half adjustments by AEC, the Blue Gator defense held the Rebel offense and running game in check.
“We stress that we’re a second-half team” Ascension coach Matt Desormeaux said following the game. “If a game is close going into the second half, we feel like we’re going to come out on top, and that’s what we talked about at halftime.”
Whatever changes the Blue Gators made worked, as AES was able to limit Riverside to just 32 yards on the ground in the second half. As a team, Riverside finished with 165 rushing yards and one score on the night.
Conversely, the Rebel defense could not find a way to slow down Ascension’s ground attack.
The Blue Gators rushed for 297 yards as a team, with a 176-yards and four touchdowns coming by AES tailback Jhalen Brown.
Third downs were also an issue for Riverside on Friday, as the Rebels finished the night 4 of 13 on third down, including 1 of 6 in the second half.
Wilson was a bright spot for the Rebels. He drove home a pair of field goals, including a 36 yarder in the fourth quarter.
Riverside was led on the ground by Cheneau, who wrapped up his night with 79 yards on 12 carries and one score.
Quarterback Gage Larvadain chipped in with 50 yards on the ground in addition to the 105 yards he produced through the air. Larvadin’s favorite target Friday night was receiver Kash Foley, who had five catches for 73-yards.