The Riverview Middle School football team is now champions.
The Eagles destroyed Clear Creek 34-6 to capture the Mountain League Middle School Championship last Thursday in Gilmer County.
The win was revenge for an 18-13 loss the week before that ruined the team's perfect season.
"We talked all week about how we let Clear Creek set the tone of the game, and all of the opportunities we gave them. We also felt we let them be more physical than us, the first game, so we called out our leaders to respond. We wanted to leave no doubt who the best team was and we did not leave any doubt," said Riverview Middle School Head Football Coach Mark Thomason.
The Eagles finished the season with a 7-1 record.
Thomason's offense took the first two drives of the ball game and stuffed it down the Bobcats' throats.
Running back Cody Smith notched the first touchdown with a 15-yard run.
The Eagles followed it up with a quarterback sneak from Tyler Dominy to take a 13-0 lead after one quarter of play.
Smith finished the game with over 125 yards rushing for Riverview.
Our first two drives of the game set the tone that we were not going to do anything special except run the ball right at them," said Thomason about the start of the game.
Riverview opened up a 20-0 lead in the second quarter with another Dominy quarterback sneak. Smith added the extra point with 3:31 remaining to play in the half.
Clear Creek scored its only touchdown with one minute to play on a 26-yard touchdown pass. The Bobcats attempt at the two-point conversion was no good.
The halftime score was 20-6 in favor of the Riverview Eagles.
Defensively, the Eagles stifled Clear Creek all afternoon.
The Bobcats managed only 48 yards on the ground during the entire four quarters of play.
Several Eagle defenders had big games; including, Cole Knight, Koby Rogers and Josh Scaife with interceptions, Zach Martin tallied a strip and a recovery, Scotty Zadernak, Justin Sams and Blake McDaniel recorded a quarterback sack each.
Riverview stretched its lead in the third quarter.
The Eagles took the opening kick-off using 6 minutes and 19 seconds of the clock to drive the length of the field.
The drive was demoralizing for Clear Creek.
Riverview's Bruce Clark capped off the offensive masterpiece with a 6-yard touchdown score. The 2-point conversion was also good by Clark and allowed Riverview to build a commanding 28-6 advantage.
Thomason's offense put the "nail in the coffin" with 5:47 to play on a Zach Martin touchdown from 10 yards out.
Josh Scaife sealed the win with an interception, which let the celebration begin.
"Offensively, the line played its best game of the season, opening huge holes for our running backs," said Thomason.
"On offense we had several guys that had great years. Running back Bruce Clark led us in scoring this year. Cody Smith broke his arm mid way through the season, but still had several TDs. Zack Martin, our fullback, was able to pick up the tough yards in the middle. Tyler Dominy, quarterback, was a great leader. Justin Sams, Blake McDainel and Evan Kells were a force on the offensive line," Thomason said about this year's offense.
Defensively, the Eagles dominated the entire season.
Thomason was all smiles about his defensive squad. "The defense was the backbone of our team. We were not scored upon until the sixth game of the year. Our defense averaged three takeaways a game. Martin, linebacker, and Rogers led us in takeaways and defensive scoring. Clark, Sams, Evan Kells, Zadernak, Cole Knight and Josh Scaife all had big years," said Thomason.
"My assistants were great. Coach Thomy Edwards and Coach Ray really helped me keep things going this year. Anytime that there is a first year head coach and two first year coaches, you never really know what to expect. They did a good job helping our guys improve," Thomason commented.
"I have never been happier as a coach for the effort and commitment that these young men gave me to prepare for this game. It feels great for these young men to know that they won the first championship in Riverview history. They will always be able to come back and see their accomplishment," Thomason said about his team's effort this season.
"In the summer we started out talking about a championship and starting a tradition at Riverview," said Thomason. "I knew that we had some kids that were capable, but we also needed others to step up. After our first two games we knew that we had a really good team. I was really blessed by this season. We started this summer with around 14 players, we added one or two players each week and finally got up to 39 players. After the DCMS and Fannin games, I knew that we had something special."
"When the guys enter high school, I expect that several will get playing time as freshmen. The group has a lot of potential, but it really depends on how hard they work in the weight room. It is important that they stick together and not quit," Thomason said of his expectations of his players that will be entering high school next fall.
E-mail Pam Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org.