Riverside Academy’s 34-32 loss to Country Day during the final week of the regular season proved costly for the Rebels in more ways than one.
The loss denied Riverside the District 9-1A title but also dropped the Rebels down to the Number 7 seed in the Division IV playoffs.
“Going into last week, we thought we would be much higher than seven. But when you are in a 16-team bracket, it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t make that much of a difference,” Riverside coach Kevin Dizer said.
The good thing about the No. 7 seed, Dizer said, is that it allows the Rebels to be at home when they take on St. Edmund’s at 7 p.m. Friday in Reserve.
“Having a seven seed is good. We get a home game to start it, and if we can get past Round One, we will have to travel regardless. That’s OK. We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do,” said Dizer.
A win by Riverside would put the Rebels on the road for the second round, regardless of who wins the game between No. 2 Vermilion Catholic and No. 15 St. Frederick.
Travelling to either location first requires a win over St. Edmunds.
The Fighting Blue Jays out of District 5-1A sport a 5-2 record.
St. Edmund’s opened the season with a 36-29 loss to Avoyelles before rolling off five-straight wins over Ville Platte 54-0, Natchitoches Central 35-34, North Central 57-0, Pine Prairie 69-6, and Westminster Academy 52-7.
The Blue Jays head into the playoffs coming off a 35-21 loss to Catholic of Pointe Coupee.
Riverside won a 61-57 shootout over Catholic-Pointe Coupee in Week 2.
In St. Edmund, the Rebels face a team with a bit of an usual style, according to Dizer.
“They run a pretty unorthodox offense. The stuff they run you would typically see from under center. They are kind of spread, but they are still running a power running attack,” the Riverside coach explained.
The main runner for the Blue Jays is Keiran Davis, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound sophomore.
“He’s a big guy. He runs tough. We just saw one in Country Day. He’s very similar to the running back from Country Day, who has a lot of success on us. We certainly have to use that tape and learn from that and do a much better job against a guy like that,” said Dizer, referring to Country Day’s Scott Isacks, who rushed for 176 yards in the Riverside’s 34-32 loss.
The St. Edmund’s quarterback is 5-foot-8 senior Henry Brown.
“I know for sure we haven’t played a quarterback as elusive as this guy. He’s like a 1A high school version of Johnny Manziel. He runs around all over the place. He extends plays. He’s very elusive. You just have to be really disciplined playing against a guy like him. He will make you look foolish if you don’t,” said Dizer, referring to the former Texas A&M Heisman Trophy winner.
Another offensive threat for the Blue Jays is versatile Taylor Duire.
“He’s like a slot, wingback kind of guy and then he will play receiver in some of their more traditional sets,” said Dizer.
The main pass catching threat is tight end Easton Coleman.
“That’s who they use mostly in the passing game. He can go and high-point the football. He’s made some pretty spectacular catches throughout the year,” Dizer said.
Another runner is Luke Trahan.
“That kid can run. He’s got some speed on him. He isn’t the primary running back. He can do a lot of other things but is a real good athlete,” Dizer said of Trahan, who also plays on defense.
Like with the offense, the St. Edmund’s defense can keep an opponent guessing.
“We think they are a base 4-2-5. The reason why we think that is because they haven’t played a lot of teams that run traditional offenses so we haven’t gotten a lot of looks against some of the stuff that we would do offensively,” said Dizer.
One of the team’s top defenders is middle linebacker Garrett Dubois.
“He plays downhill. He’s physical,” Dizer said.
Along with being the main runner on offense, Davis also plays at defensive end. He is one of several Blue Jays who play on both sides of the ball.
A road trip in Round Two, Dizer said, will only happen if the Rebels play a disciplined game on Friday.
“We have to get back to that team that we were the first five or six games of the season. We have to use emotion in a positive way and not negative and we will be just fine,” the Riverside coach said.