But with each passing week, the Knights have improved their play on the field — and their health off of it.
Heading into a key Region 7AAAA (A) game Friday at Cass, River Ridge (2-4, 1-0) will look to continue that positive momentum rolling and stay perfect in subregion play.
“We’re moving in the right direction, and when I look at things overall, I have to say I’m happy with where we are at,” said River Ridge coach Robert Braucht, whose team has won two of its last three games, including an upset of Cedartown two weeks ago.
“We don’t have any major concerns in the injury department right now, and we just have to stay focused on the task at hand and stay together.”
Friday’s task will be containing what Braucht described as a speedy Cass team. The Colonels (4-3, 0-2) employ a no-huddle spread passing attack that River Ridge will be seeing for the first time this season.
“The biggest things you see with Cass is that they are very disciplined and they have a lot of speed,” Braucht said, “so we have to match that discipline by playing assignment football ourselves.
“Our biggest challenge this week has been mimicking that offense in practice. We did what we could to simulate what they do and gave our kids the opportunity to see it what it’s like.”
Braucht used the bye week to prepare for the Colonels’ offense, while also spending time on improving the fundamentals of the Knights’ own offense — which has taken off following the return of running back E.J. Ellis from a knee injury two weeks ago.
Ellis has run for 248 yards since returning to the field, and River Ridge is averaging 28 points in those two games.
While nothing changed within his Wing-T offense when Ellis returned, Braucht said the junior’s presence at fullback opens up other offensive opportunities for players such as Austin Terrell and Vince Njoku.
“When (Ellis) is in there running rough inside, it really helps out the other backs and what they are doing,” Braucht said. “We’ve been able to win with and without him, but he definitely allows us to diversify things.”