Vikes face Ta­maqua tonight in last non­con­fer­ence game

The Times-Tribune - - SPORTS - BY JOBY FAWCETT STAFF Writer

River­side had goals to make strides each week while tak­ing ad­van­tage of the three ex­tra games it had on the sched­ule this sea­son.

Af­ter a sea­son open­ing loss to Wy­oming Area, the Vik­ings fell short of reach­ing the win col­umn last week against Academy of the New Church.

Still, the de­fense showed im­prove­ment and the of­fense gained mo­men­tum, es­pe­cially in the run game as the team gets ready to take on Ta­maqua on the road tonight at 7.

“Each week I think we get bet­ter on both sides of the ball,” River­side line­backer Chris Rogers said. “We are try­ing to be more dis­ci­plined and ex­e­cute bet­ter.

“Our de­fense has stepped up and our of­fense is com­ing to­gether.”

Last week, de­spite the loss, River­side played in­spired on de­fense.

Led by Gavin Wil­liams, who had 11 tack­les, and Rogers, a pair of ac­tive lineback­ers, and

fresh­man Reese Gaughan, who snapped up his sec­ond in­ter­cep­tion of the sea­son, the Vik­ings limited Academy of the New Church to 215 to­tal yards an im­prove­ment of 106 yards from the pre­vi­ous week.

Af­ter giv­ing up a 32-yard touch­down run on New Church’s first drive, River­side limited it to 3.1 yards per carry.

That run de­fense will face a daunt­ing chal­lenge against Ta­maqua, a pro­gram that reached the PIAA Class 3A semi­fi­nals last sea­son.

In wins over Shenan­doah Val­ley and Le­high­ton, the Blue Raiders are av­er­ag­ing 6.9 yards per carry. Se­nior Nate Cur­vey has run for 219 yards and three touch­downs and team­mate Lo­gan Hess has 181 yards and three scores.

“Ta­maqua is a heavy run­ning team, we have to buckle down,” Wil­liams said. “It is go­ing to be a chal­lenge. We are go­ing to be ready for a fight. Our big­gest key last week was that we stayed men­tally strong. We have our as­sign­ments and we just have to ex­e­cute.”

De­fen­sively, Ta­maqua is led by se­nior Nate Wick­er­sham, who has 17 tack­les and Bray­den Hess, who has two sacks.

River­side is still work­ing on get­ting its of­fense go­ing at full throt­tle.

Last week, the run­ning game pro­duced 77 yards, which was a huge im­prove­ment from the loss to Wy­oming Area when the team had a mi­nus-31 yards due to a bad snap on a punt and six sacks.

Quar­ter­back Johnny Gilchrist inched closer to be­com­ing the school’s all-time leader in ca­reer pass­ing yards and ca­reer touch­downs. He has 5,324 yards and moved to within 5 yards of the school record of 5,329 yards set by Nick Dran­chak from 2009 to 2012 and has 65 touch­downs passes which is one short of coach Harry Arm­strong’s record of 66.

Times-tri­bune File

River­side’s Noah Parchin­ski, left, had 36 yards rush­ing and 28 yards re­ceiv­ing last week.

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