But River Ridge’s lone player dismissed from the game was nowhere to be found after the 24-12 loss.
“They ejected No. 40, but we don’t even have a No. 40,” River Ridge coach Robert Braucht said.
Braucht talked to his players after the Region 7AAAA (A) game about handling themselves on the field. While he was actually proud of how his team stayed on the sideline during the scrum, he said his players still have a lot to learn in terms of simply playing football.
“We’ve got some things our kids just don’t quite understand about the game of football yet. I take the blame for that,” Braucht said. “There’s just some little things. There’s things our young kids just don’t quite understand yet. It’s a long process. It’s something we’ve got to continue to work on.”
River Ridge (1-6, 1-4) seemed poised to dig out of what was a 14-0 hole in the second half.
Trailing 17-7 heading into the third quarter, the Knights’ defense made two crucial stops, thanks to E.J. Ellis’ interception and a fourth-down sack on the next possession, but the offense had trouble getting out of its own way with penalties.
River Ridge cut it to a one-score game with a 23-yard field goal late in the third, putting the score at 17-10. But on Cass’ third chance with the football, the Colonels’ offense chewed clock and eventually scored with 3 minutes remaining, when Justin Reed took a handoff off left tackle for a 14-yard score.
The game was out of reach late in the fourth quarter, when a few shoves turned into a mid-field brawl. At least one Cass player was ejected for leaving the bench to get in on the action, and five Colonels were ejected by the end of the contest.
One bright spot for the Knights was running back Michael Lewis, who has continued to become a bigger piece of the offense. While Ellis scored River Ridge’s lone touchdown in the second quarter, it was Lewis who carried 15 times for 128 yards to lead the team.
“He’s starting to understand that he’s got to do what he’s coached to do. He’s a good athlete,” Braucht said. “He’s a kid that, as we continue to build this thing, we will continue to give him the ball more and more. He’s coming into his own, for sure.”
As Cass (3-5) improved to 1-2 in subregion play, and River Ridge fell again, Braucht said his team still has plenty to focus on.
“We’re still alive. That’s the way that the region is,” he said. “We’re not out of it from a numerical standpoint. We’ve got to work on fundamentals and get ready for Gilmer and not worry about anything else.”