Vikes face Tamaqua tonight in last nonconference game
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.
Riverside’s Noah Parchinski, left, had 36 yards rushing and 28 yards receiving last week.