Unlike most teams, the Raiders (4-1 overall, 1-0 Region 4B-AAAA) started the season with a region opponent (North Clayton) then faced some competition from other leagues, including Eagle’s Landing which they rolled past 52-36 last Friday.
“We just knew it was very important to get back on track after our loss to Dutchtown,” Riverdale football coach Olten Downs said. “I just wanted to give the guys some good rhythm with some confidence going into region play. It was great to get those guys on a good roll.”
Kamhad Magwood had 132 rushing yards, four touchdowns and a blocked punt. Deon Jones ran for 111 yards and a TD, and Ti’Keem Cooper finished with 106 rushing yards and a touchdown for Riverdale, which also got an 89-yard TD by Trey Sanders on a kickoff return.
“We just tried to force feed Kamhad the ball, let him be that work horse and let him realize we depend upon him going into region play,” Downs said. “Because our success on offense is going to depend on how successful he is going to be able to make plays and run the football.”
Now after improving to 7-0 all time against Eagle’s Landing, the Raiders shift their attention to a high-powered Griffin (4-1, 1-0) squad which has come out on top most of the time in the series, winning the last nine matchups and 20 of 23 overall.
“We don’t try to get wrapped up in necessarily who we are playing and what the significance of the game is,” Downs said. “We just approach it as the next game. We don’t want to change anything that we are doing. We don’t want the kids thinking one game is more important or less important.”
This will also be the first time Riverdale meets Griffin since 2007, when both teams had totally different rosters.
However this Friday, the Raiders will try to end their struggles in the series and send the Bears to a second straight loss after a 17-14 shortcoming to Stockbridge last Friday. Malik Miller ran for two touchdowns but to no avail since Stockbridge’s Andrus Guillen nailed a 27-yard field goal as time expired.
“Offensively they are a very explosive team,” Downs said. “They thrive on big plays, throwing the ball vertically so it’s going to be very important that we limit their big plays.”