The Riverview Middle School football team remained undefeated with a come from behind win over a good Jasper Middle School team last Thursday in Jasper. The Eagles came away with a 15-8 win and moved to 2-0 on the season.
The game was a defensive struggle with the score notched at 0-0 after three quarters of play.
Both teams turned up the offense in the last three minutes of play.
Riverview had the ball on Jasper’s 40-yard line when running back Sal Mendoza took a handoff from quarterback Zach Buchan.
Mendoza broke down the sideline for his first ever touchdown.
In the excitement of scoring Mendoza was flagged. Jasper decided to take the penalty on the kickoff. Mendoza added the extra point to give Riverview a 7-0 lead with 2:30 to play.
Jasper took the ensuing kickoff back 68-yards for a touchdown. The Dragon coach elected to go for a 2-point conversion, which was successful and gave Jasper an 8-7 advantage with 2:21 remaining in the game.
The game seemed over, but Eagle Keagan Matthews returned the kickoff over the 50-yard line. Matthews almost broke loose for the touchdown but was dragged down on a good play by Jasper defender.
Head Coach Mark Thomason’s team displayed a never-give-up attitude again. Last week the Eagles scored a late fourth quarter touchdown to beat Dawson Middle.
Thomason’s offense had only one timeout remaining and had to go into their 2-minute offense. With 20 seconds left it was fourth and 5 on the 40-yard line.
Eagle quarterback Buchan found a wide-open Mendoza on a passing route.
Mendoza pulled in the pass and raced into the end zone.
Riverview elected to go for a 2-point conversion. Eagle running back Levi Whitmire barreled into the end zone to give Riverview a 15-8 lead with under 17 seconds to play.
Jasper was unable to move the ball on offense in the last few seconds as time expired.
“I thought the team played with a lot of heart and I was proud of them for never quitting,” Thomason said.
“I was really impressed with Sal Mendoza. He had around a hundred yards rushing, with two touchdowns. I was also happy with the blocking of Jacob Lord.
“On defense, Levi Whitmire had an interception and a fumble recovery. Lord caused a fumble on a hard hit. I though that Austin Martin, Gavin Brown and Austin Bruce were tackling machines. All three had over 10 tackles,” Thomason added.
This week will be a test for Riverview.
The Eagles will play host to a 2-0 Union County team. The Panthers will throw the ball almost every play, which will be a test for the Eagle secondary.
Kickoff will be at 5 p.m.