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The Riverside Military Academy Eagles fought hard but could not keep up with the high-octane offense of the Rabun County Wildcats, losing 42-20 Friday night at McGinnis Field.
The Eagles (0-5, 0-3 Region 8-AA) outgained the Wildcats (4-1, 2-0) by almost 100 yards, but costly turnovers hurt Riverside’s chances.
“We are averaging about three turnovers a game, and that is what is holding us back,” Eagles coach Gary Downs said.
The Eagles threw two interceptions and lost a fumble to the Wildcats.
Riverside struck first with a 76-yard touchdown run by Elijah Holyfield after holding Rabun County to a three-and-out its first drive.
After the extra point was blocked, Rabun County wasted no time in scoring its first touchdown, taking just over one minute off the clock on a drive ending with Daniel Dailey 4-yard run.
The Wildcats scored again to make the score 14-6 before Riverside got another big play from Holyfield, this one an 84-yard touchdown run. The Eagles attempted a two-point conversion, but Adrian Humphrey was stopped short to leave the score, 14-12.
On the ensuing drive, Riverside held Rabun County to a third-and-14 before quarterback Wes Holcombe threw a 30-yard bomb to leading wide receiver Charlie Woerner to keep the drive alive. Three plays later, the Wildcats scored on a 1-yard run by Holcombe to make the score 21-12.
The Wildcat defense then blocked a Riverside punt with 14 seconds remaining in the half took it in for a touchdown, and the Eagles went into the locker room down 28-12.
The third quarter consisted of the Wildcats and Eagles trading punts. The Wildcats finally broke through with 47 seconds left in the quarter on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Holcombe to Clint Scott to make the score 35-12.
The Eagles answered with another Holyfield run, this one from 5 yards out, and converted the two-point conversion before Rabun County ended the scoring with a 21-yard touchdown run from Holcombe.
Holyfield finished the night with 182 yards on 10 carries with three touchdowns for Riverside.
Downs said he saw much improvement over the past weeks.
“The offense was moving the ball,” Downs said. “The defense had the Rabun County offense stopped, too, but the third-downs hurt us. It’s just another thing to improve on.”
Riverside will now go back to the drawing board as they still try to find their first win next week at Union County. Rabun County will return home to take on Jefferson next week. Both games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.