GREENVILLE – There was a whole lot of talent on display when Riverside played at Class 1A No. 2 Christ Church Friday night at Carson Stadium. For three quarters, no star shone brighter than Cavaliers standout running back Dashun Reeder.
Watching the way Reeder methodically churned out yards, it was rather unfathomable that Christ Church would be in any kind of position to lose. But for every big drive that Reeder led the Cavs on, Riverside quarterback Ty Breeze seemingly had a big play answer. Once the Warriors finally stopped Reeder in the fourth quarter, Breeze kept right on answering.
While Christ Church’s last four drives ended on a blocked punt for a touchdown, two interceptions and the game clock expiring, Riverside’s last three ended on touchdowns as the Warriors rallied for a 48-28 victory.
“I’m just proud of the guys. … At Riverside in the past, we’ve kind of fallen out of these games,” Riverside coach Matt Rochester said. “We haven’t had that kind of momentum where the defense plays well and then the offense comes on and plays good, but we were able to get that tonight. It really helped us.
“Our (late game defense) was unbelievable. We’re really familiar with Dashun. He’s played for us before (in ninth grade). He’s a really great player, but hats off to (defensive coordinator) Coach (Tyson) Wright and the defense for making second-half adjustments.”
The seeds for the Warriors’ big second half were planted in the final seconds of the first. The Cavs (2-2) took a 14-0 lead after one quarter in which Reeder ran for 118 yards and both scores. A 13-play scoring drive by Riverside cut the lead to 14-7 early in the second quarter.
While Christ Church missed a field goal and had to punt on its two second quarter possessions, it still seemingly had control of the game especially when that punt was downed at the Riverside 14 with less than two minutes remaining in the half.
With Reeder at 155 yards at that point and the poor starting field position, Riverside (3-1) would’ve raised no eyebrows had it ran out the clock and settled on taking a seven-point deficit into halftime. Instead, it turned Breeze loose. On third-and-five, he ran for 12 yards. On third-and-10, he hit Mikkel Skinner for 24 yards to the Christ Church 45. An incompletion on the next play stopped the clock with six seconds left. Breeze then rolled to his left and fired a Hail Mary pass into double coverage that Israel Leamon went up and got before the upper half of his body crashed into the end zone.
After the extra point, the game was somehow tied 14-14 at the half.
On the first play of the second half, Reeder ran for 28 yards and then got seven more on the next play. But on third-and-three, he was dropped for an 11-yard loss and Christ Church had to punt. Five plays later, Breeze threw deep down the right sideline to Jaiden “Speedy” Taylor, who broke one tackle on his way to a 54-yard touchdown to give Riverside its first lead.
Reeder’s first touch on the Cavs’ ensuing possession went for 57 yards to the Riverside 23. Three plays later, a pitch bounced off Reeder and Riverside recovered the loose ball. A bad snap on the Warriors’ punt gave the ball back to Christ Church at the Riverside nine and Reeder ran for a touchdown on the next play.
After another Riverside three-and-out, Reeder’s fourth touchdown gave them a 28-21 lead. The three-yard run gave him 278 yards on 31 carries and seemingly gave Christ Church a chance to breathe again.
But just two plays later,, Breeze found a wide-open Taylor over the middle for a 65-yard score and the game was tied 28-28 heading into the fourth.
“Mikkel (Riverside’s leading rusher and receiver) gets a lot of attention and deservedly so, but we’ve got a lot of weapons,” Breeze said. “I’ve got confidence in all my guys to go make plays.”
Reeder appeared to eclipse the 300-yard mark when he ran for 32 yards on the next play, but it was wiped out by an illegal formation penalty. Reeder, who may have been gassed after that long run that didn’t count, did not touch the ball again on that drive. It ended when Riverside blocked a punt and Clay Black returned the ball three yards for a touchdown.
Reeder had two yards on the first two carries of the next drive, which ended on a 38-yard interception return by Quinton Hood. Five plays later, Breeze ran for a three-yard touchdown. After a penalty on the first two-point conversion try, Breeze ran in for two from seven yards out to push the lead to 42-28 with 6:23 left.
On the first play of the Cavs’ ensuing drive, Reeder was dropped for a loss of seven on what turned out to be his final carry of the night. Four plays later, Riverside’s Robbie Robertson made an interception.
“We knew most of their players play both sides, so we were just trying to get them tired,” Riverside defensive lineman Marcus Downs, a Georgia Tech commitment, said. “Dashun and I are great friends, but we just tried to keep hitting him so he would hopefully get tired. It came down to the fourth quarter and we just kept fighting.”
Riverside sealed the win when Breeze’s fifth passing touchdown was a 35-yarder to Skinner on fourth down with 1:21 left.
Breeze had 305 yards on 15-of-28 passing with no interceptions. Taylor had five catches for 137 yards and two scores, while Leamon had three catches for 78 yards and the one touchdown. Skinner made five receptions for 70 yards and two touchdowns.
Reeder finished with 273 yards on 34 carries, while Tucker Hendrix completed 13-of-21 passes for 183 yards. Jackson Repp had five catches for 72, and Jude Hall had four for 62.