Knights can't keep up after close first half
by Michael Foster
Tribune Sports Correspondent
October 26, 2013 02:42 AM | 1373 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Steven Spears and his River Ridge teammates enjoyed a strong start to Friday's game at Gilmer, but they couldn't keep up in the second half of the eventual loss.
<BR>Staff file photo by Todd Hull
Steven Spears and his River Ridge teammates enjoyed a strong start to Friday's game at Gilmer, but they couldn't keep up in the second half of the eventual loss.
Staff file photo by Todd Hull
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ELLIJAY — Tyler Bertollini carried 17 times for 117 yards and three touchdowns, and linebacker Austin Cole had a defensive performance to remember as Gilmer ran away from River Ridge in the second half of a 37-13 victory Friday night.

The Knights, who fell to 1-7 overall and 0-3 in Region 7AAAA (A), looked up to the task of upsetting

the subregion-leading Bobcats (7-1, 3-0), as they led 13-10 at halftime thanks to some strong running from quarterback Steven Spears.

Spears scored touchdown runs from 1 yard out in the first and second quarters, managing almost all of his 94 rushing yards in the first half.

Spears carried more of the load for the Knights, who were without last week’s leading rusher, Michael Lewis, who didn’t make the trip for undisclosed reasons.

“That’s just how our offense is,” coach Robert Braucht said. “One week, somebody is going to give

us one player. The next week, someone is going to give us another.”

However, the Knights’ offense couldn’t play catchup after the Bobcats (7-1, 3-0) put their foot down in the third quarter.

After Bertollini scored from 8 yards out, Gilmer got the ball back and rode him again for a 54-yard

gain deep into Knights territory. Johnnie Flakes, who carried nine times for 74 yards, then scored from 4 yards out to give Gilmer a two-score lead.

River Ridge’s triple-option offense couldn’t return blows.

With 6:05 remaining, Spears went to the air and found the hands of Cole, who returned an interception 25 yards for the score. Cole also recovered a late fumble by Spears and recorded two

key second-half sacks.

“In the second half, we just did some things that you can’t do. That was kind of the thing that we talked about all week,” Braucht said. “Really, to be honest, those things just happen sometimes in football. It is what it is at that point. Our kids busted their butts.”

Spears was 7-of-15 passing for 58 yards, but he had two of the Knights’ three interceptions. The Bobcats’ defense dropped a handful of interception opportunities as well.

River Ridge’s defense did shine through with three sacks, as well as an interception of its own from

Wesley Terry.

Despite the loss, Braucht said he still thinks his team is handling the tough season with the right

attitude.

“We’ve got some things that we still want to work on as coaches so that we can develop our program and get these kids going,” Braucht said. “It’s something for our kids to learn from, and they’re actually embracing it very well. I’m very happy with our kids. I couldn’t be any more happier

than I am.”

River Ridge will host Pickens next Friday before a crossover game with a team from the northern half

of Region 7AAAA.
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