It was the first win for River Ridge (1-3) after three lopsided losses.
“We’re going in the right direction,” River Ridge coach Robert Braucht said. “This win will make it a little bit easier to worker harder next week because we’ve got something positive to build off of.”
Leading 27-14 in the fourth quarter, the Knights made an important defensive stop in LaFayette territory.
On a punt, the snap sail over the head of punter Clayton Underwood and was downed at the 4-yard line.
Two plays later, River Ridge quarterback Steven Spears found Tyler Keeney on a 9-yard touchdown pass to give the Knights a 33-14 lead.
The fourth quarter only got worse for the Ramblers (0-3), and on their next possession, the ball once again made its way past Underwood to be downed on the LaFayette 31.
Spears punched the ball into the end zone five plays later to give the Knights an insurmountable 40-14 lead.
Braucht was pleased with how River Ridge converted the turnovers into touchdowns.
“As far as the punts are concerned, I have a saying. ‘Luck is when preparation meets opportunity,’” he said. “We prepared for things like that, and our kids capitalized on it.”
Backup running back Dylan Gates scored from 34 yards out with less than 4 minutes to go to complete the Knights’ victory.
The first three quarters were more competitive, with the Knights taking an early lead to open the game.
After receiving the kickoff, River Ridge came out of the gate strong, marching 67 yards on 10 plays, with Austin Terrell accounting for 45 rushing yards. On third down from the 9-yard line, Spears found Aubrey Thompson in the back of an end zone for a touchdown to give the Knights an early lead.
After a 7-yard punt by LaFayette on the ensuing possession gave River Ridge the ball on the Ramblers’ 30, the Knights quickly took advantage of the short field and scored three plays later, with Terrell running it in from 8 yards out to give the Knights a 14-0 lead.
LaFayette responded late in the second quarter, driving the length of the field and scoring on a 5-yard pass from quarterback Mackenzie Kelehear to wide receiver Hunter Clark with less than 40 seconds to go until halftime.
LaFayette’s biggest play of the game came at the start of the second half, when Jimmy Stallion returned the kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 14-all.
It was then that Njoku and Terrell swung the game in the Knights’ favor.
River Ridge fired right back on its next possession, as Njoku rushed for a 52-yard touchdown to put the home team in the lead for good.
The Knights began to pull away from the Ramblers in the beginning of the fourth quarter, when Terrell’s 36-yard run gave them a 27-14 lead and some breathing room.
Njoku had seven carries for 89 yards with one touchdown, while Terrell had 101 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown.
“They did exactly what they were supposed to do (Friday),” Braucht said of his two running backs. “They got the job done.”
Spears was 6-for-8 for 68 passing yards.
Cody Dallas led LaFayette with 81 rushing yards on 17 carries.
Braucht felt River Ridge’s victory was due to his players orchestrating a fundamentally sound game.
“All football is is fundamentals,” he said. “Football is about blocking and tackling. At the end of the night, if you don’t block and tackle, good things aren’t going to happen on either side of the ball. Those were definitely the two things that I was the most pleased with from us (Friday).”