"I couldn’t have scripted it any better myself," Lancaster said.
The source of Lancaster’s joy was three-fold: the Eagles (6-4, 4-1) racked up 501 yards of offense (spread evenly between running and passing), shut down the Bulldogs running game and stopped George Walton’s multiple spread passing attack.
And Riverside did this all in a short week with the unusual Thursday night game. "Our kids played tremendous tonight," Lancaster added. "It was a great team win."
Now Riverside looks forward to opening the playoffs with eight days of rest between games against Pinewood Christian (6-4) at Maginnis Field. With the win, the Eagles avoided having to make a trip to play First Presbyterian Day to open the playoffs in Macon.
"We’ve traveled to Macon enough this season already," Lancaster said.
This is going to be the Eagles’ only assured home game in the playoffs.
"That was the most important thing for us to come and secure home field advantage and get to play in front of our 12th man," Eagles senior tailback Tersoo Uhaa said. "It will be my last time getting to play at home."
Uhaa set the stage on the ground for the Eagle’s rushing game. Riverside’s highest-ranking cadet had touchdown runs of 8 and 5 yards in the first half. He finished the night with three touchdown runs and 164 yards.
Riverside’s passing game didn’t miss a step either. Eagles senior receiver Ewin Holyfield scored from the 49 on the first drive of the game, and was also on the receiving end of a 13-yard skinny post pass for a touchdown in the third quarter. He finished the game with 62 yards on those two touchdown catches.
Kyle Glennon and Matt Peterson also had touchdown catches for Riverside.
Riverside senior quarterback Bill Dearybury finished the night 10 of 16 passing for 261 yards. Glennon was the Eagles leading receiver on the night with four catches for 87 yards.
"I think the effectiveness of our running game really opened up the passing game," Holyfield said. "It’s very important for us to have this win and open the playoffs here at home in front of our student body and fans."
Riverside’s defense limited George Walton to only 81 yards rushing. The Eagles made timely plays in the first half with sound tackling and also minimized the impact of the Bulldogs spread passing game en route to building a 42-6 by the end of the third quarter.
George Walton’s quirky six-receiver sets on offense could only muster 204 yards in the passing game, which came primarily on screen passes and intermediate throws.
George Walton visits First Presbyterian Day on Friday to open the playoffs.