After playing the first two games on the road, Riverside Academy will play at home for the first time under new coach Kevin Dizer.
The Rebels face a tough chore in taking on powerful Rummel out of the Catholic League. Riverside enters the game 0-2 after opening the season with road losses to Southern Lab and Barbe.
“It’s a big deal,” Dizer said of playing at home. “Ideally, you don’t want to go into your home opener 0-2 and facing Rummel, but that’s what it is. We are going to be excited about it. We’ve been on the road. We’ve been to Thibodaux (for the jamboree), Baton Rouge and Lake Charles. We’ve had nothing local so we’re looking forward to the kids getting to defense the home field and see if that brings a little more energy out of them. It will give our fans a break from all of that travel.”
For the second week in a row, the Rebels were unable to stop the run. Barbe had two runners top 100 yards as Riverside surrendered 369 yards on the ground.
“We actually ran the ball well Friday, we just couldn’t finish. Defensively, it’s the same story, different week. We’ve just got to be able to find ways from just lining up and running it,” Dizer said.
In last year’s matchup, Rummel (1-1) and Riverside combined for just under 1,200 yards of total offense. Dizer said he doesn’t expect that type of game Friday.
“I would doubt it,” the Riverside coach said. “Rummel lost their running backs from last year and they lost Ja’Marr Chase (now at LSU). They certainly still have good players on offense but they lost some fire power. When you lose a guy like Ja’Marr Chase, you know you will have a little bit of a drop off. We lost a lot of guys offensively, too. We just want to get on the board at this point. I’m not worried about having a shootout. We just want to be able to score, period.”
Koy Moore was expected to fill some of the void with Chase’s departure, but he has been out with an injury.
“He had a big game against us last year as a sophomore. He’s been out with a hamstring injury. I don’t know how close he is to returning,” said Dizer.
Logan Diggs was expected to be one of the top runners for the Raiders, but he also is out with an injury.
“They are playing Jaelen Sturgis. He’s a bruiser. He’s a big, strong guy. He doesn’t have the breakaway speed but he’s a load to bring down,” Dizer said.
One of the returning players on offense for Rummel is senior quarterback Chandler Fields.
“He’s one of the better passers you will see in this area. He does a good job running the spread offense. He’s a solid quarterback but we still want to make him beat us with his arm. The challenge is to make teams throw the football against us. That’s what we want to do. I hope Rummel comes in here with the mindset to throw it 40 times; that would be great,” said Dizer.
Defensively, the Raiders will go from a 3-4 looking to a 3-3 Stack alignment.
Top defenders on a young Raiders defense include end Caboz Craig and Jordan Williams, along with defensive back Donovan Kaufman.
“They may not have anyone that will play at a major D-I school, but they have some players that probably could play D-I but they just haven’t the publicity,” said Dexter Falgoust, Riverside’s defensive coordinator.
As part of Riverside’s 2018, the Rebels plan to honor a former Rebels player, Nick Rose.
“We are getting one of our former players who had a bad accident last spring that’s recovered but was in jeopardy of losing his life, we are going to have him as an honorary captain. We will have him be the honorary captain for us this Friday and maybe all of that will spark some excitement and we will have a good home opener,” Dizer said.