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Offense sputters, defense strong in Riversides opening loss
Eagles done in by big plays, fall to Fellowship 28-0
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Kelly Davis’ debut as head coach at Riverside Military Academy was a challenge, and the Eagles fell to non-region opponent Fellowship Christian 28-0 on Friday at Maginnis Field.

Davis experimented with three quarterbacks: starting sophomore in Sean Allison (9 of 16 passing, 62 yards), junior Lyle Lopez and senior Kaseem Dukes.

Riverside was relegated to punting on every drive, failing to get into field goal range in the game.

The Paladins’ second drive featured a 56-yard run by Drew Williamson on a reverse sweep.

Late in the first quarter, Fellowship Christian fumbled a punt return and the Eagles recovered. However, Riverside still couldn’t capitalize on the turnover.

Early in the second quarter, Riverside successfully converted a fake punt for a 35-yard gain. Yet again, the Eagles’ offense came to a halt.

Later that quarter, Riverside gave up a 39-yard pass to Paladin quarterback Jack Hardin, setting up the Paladins’ second scoring drive.

Running back Andrew Johnson of the Paladins punched in a 3-yard touchdown run early in the second half to make it 21-0 against the tired Eagle defense.

Despite the 28-0 score, the Eagles put up a solid defensive performance. Big plays in spurts became Riverside’s Achilles’ heel, all setting up Fellowship Christian in red zone situations.

“The defense played very well,” Davis said. “We gave up a couple of reverses and a long pass for a touchdown. It’s something we’re going to work on in the next couple of weeks.”

Offensively, Davis said that they were going back to the basics, and are considering moving some personnel around.

Both Fellowship Christian (1-0, 0-0 region) and Riverside (0-1, 0-0 region) have bye weeks following their matchup, until they gear up for new opponents Sept. 11.

Early in the fourth quarter, two Eagle players, Emmanuel McNeil and Dukes, went down with undisclosed leg injuries. Dukes’ was the more serious, as he was carried off the field.

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