Blog: Riverside slides through Summerland in a dazzling zero week (8/21/22)

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Riverside Tight End Klay Kleffner (left/white jersey) catches that touchdown pass after a valiant deflection attempt by Summerland’s Michael Koening (right/black jersey/jumping). Riverside wins this match of the week zero 27-26.

SPALDING, NE (Friday, August 19, 2022)

The football gods provided the perfect setting in late August for a 2022 season opener for a pair of D-1 football’s top tier programs, Eight-Man.

Riverside and Summerland went back and forth in an up and down battle before Riverside finally held off a late Sumnmerland offense for a hard-fought 27-26 win.

It was none other than Riverside’s second 135-pound student, Nicholas Berger, who saved the day. The fiery Berger hacked Summerland quarterback Jaykwon Pettite’s home pass attempt at the Chargers 2-yard line with 1:40 left in regulation, sealing the victory for the Chargers.

The young Berger was waiting for his shot to play the hero, defending well for most of the closely contested battle. When the opportunity presented itself, Nicholas stole the victory at the outstretched hands of a Bobcat receiver.

It felt like a season-ending playoff atmosphere at Spalding on Friday night, as fans almost circled the football field. The grass surface, in pristine condition (as usual) provided a fast track for Summerland’s two-time 1,000-yard runner Trevor Thomson.

The dazzling 175-pounder, who had 3,087 career rushing yards at the contest, was as good as advertised, dancing for 172 yards on 21 carries and two sparkling long-range touchdown sprints, both at 2nd quarter.

Riverside, who entered the game with 3 key players missing, one of which was star track star/wide receiver Carson Bloom, dug into his deep roster to find capable replacements, who came in and made a outstanding job against a very talented Summerland team.

Both teams traded defensive punches in the 1st stanza, battling for a scoreless tie. But it took just 15 seconds for Trevor Thomson in the second quarter to take a direct snap and outrun the Riverside defense for a sparkling 48-yard touchdown sprint.

Now understand this. If you think back to May of this current year, you might recall that Riverside had a pair of its sprinters, the aforementioned Carson Bloom, and sophomore speed dealer Jack Molt, BOTH making it into the finals of the 200 Meter Dash (Bloom also landed a 6th in the 100).

This generally eliminates just about any running back from breaking along against the fast Chargers defense……except in this case.

You see, while Bloom and Molt showed off their sprinting skills, Summerland’s Trevor Thomson topped their performances with a 4th place in the C-class hundred (:11.18) and 6th in the final 2oo (:22.67).

Thomson’s 48-yard TD sprint makes perfect sense now, doesn’t it?

No worries for Riverside fans though, as 150-pound Drew Carraher made sure Summerland knew his team could respond quickly. And have they ever done it.

One play after Thomson’s first touchdown, Riverside was flagged for a hold call, which sent the Chargers back 10 yards to their own 20-yard line. No sweat brother. Carraher’s veiny icy water took a few steps back and found a Klay Kleffner streak down the right side for a 39-yard gain at Summerland 21.

A fired Andrew Krick, a 150-pound senior RB, then snatched a 13-yard gain on the 8, then entered the standing end zone on the very next play.

Riverside had responded to Trevor Thomson’s touchdown in the blink of an eye, 3 plays/60 yards that used just 43 seconds down.

With the game tied at 6 apiece, just 58 seconds into the 2nd quarter, Thomson again escaped for a long, scoring getaway, this one covering 45 yards. Rugged 185-pound senior fullback Kendrick Schroeder added the double PAT with a point, and Summerland was up front again, 14-6 with 7:45 left in the half.

Summerland was setting up another scoring drive when Riverside’s second tough guy Dane Schalk snatched the ball from a Bobcat runner and then recovered the fumble, breaking up the drive at the Charger’s 25-yard line.

It took just 5 plays and 55 yards for Riverside to convert Summerland’s turnover to 6 points. QB Drew Carraher carried the ball the final 17 yards for the score at 20-14 with 52 ticks remaining in the first half.

And that’s how the first half would end…… Wait, that’s not what happened..

Slick Sumerland quarterback Jaykwon Pettite crafted a lightning-fast 4-play drive, hitting gorgeous sophomore Alec Schindler with a 50-yard touchdown strike. Riverside’s Jack Molt appeared to have an angle on Schindler, but the sliding second dove toward the end zone and landed with the score with NO TIME displayed on the clock.

The PAT race failed and we were back where we started with both teams even, all tied at 20 each.

There must have been some talk of defense by both coaches after the 20 point outbursts because the 3rd quarter was a mirror image of the first except for Trevor Thomson of Summerland leaving the game with a soft right knee which still worries me a bit despite the fact that he came back and played very well on both sides of the ball.

The defensive battle that was the 3rd Quarter continued into the 4th stanza. However, as the strong Riverside defense prepared for a run from Thomson or a pass from Jaykwon Pettite, they appeared to be caught off guard when the great Kendrick Schroeder took a reverse transfer from the right side with the ball spotted at the line of 20 yards from Bobcat.

It was nothing but clear sailing for the 185-pound specimen, who raced for a 44-yard gain off the Summerland sideline. The senior stud was eventually dragged to Riverside 16.

Five plays later, Summerland backup quarterback Michael Koenig threw for a 2-yard touchdown with 4:54 left in the game. The all-important PAT pass was well covered and canceled by the Chargers, leaving Summerland with a 26-20 lead.

Before continuing, I want you to consider a couple of things.

Most of you know that Riverside, which is a mix of Cedar Rapids and Spalding High athletes, inherited 5 players from a Spalding Academy team that reached the football semifinals of Status at 6 a year ago.

With the Academy unable to field a team in 2022, all 5 players AND future Hall of Fame head coach Troy Kleffner decided to partner with Riverside.

Remember this too. Riverside head coach Corey Valasek is a former Spalding Academy player who was COACHED by none other than Troy Kleffner.

Now Summerland leader Tom Thramer and a familiar assistant on his team named Brett Kazcor had just come up with this slick reverse game.

Before the ensuing kick-off, I noticed something was brewing on the Riverside sideline as Valasek, Kleffner and company huddled together.

The scoreboard clock read 4:54 when Riverside began his crucial workout. A tough run from Jack Molt and Andrew Krick advanced the ball to the Riverside 39-yard line. Facing a 3rd and a 1, the Chargers had a superb game.

Knowing that the Summerland defense would be watching former Spalding Academy tight end Klay Kleffner, sent Riverside Stud down the right throw, releasing a streaking Luke Schmeits to make a drive through.

Schmeits was on his own when Drew Carraher nailed the 150-pound junior for a spectacular 41-yard touchdown.

Riverside still had to make the PAT to take the lead with the score tied at 26.

The PAT attempt was a no-brainer for Cory Valasek, whose team opted for the 2-point attempt after the Chargers’ previous three scores…. from.

Leslie started the PAT with ease, giving the Chargers a 27-26 advantage with 3:05 left in the game.

With exactly 3 minutes on the clock in the 4th quarter, Summerland got to work from their own 23-yard line. The Bobcats moved the ball well and decided to go for the bomb after quarterback Pettite had an 11-yard gain at Summerland 35.

With 1:51 to go, Petite took the direct snap, rolled right and fired a long aerial, aiming for the left pylon, but Riverside’s Nicholas Berger got there first and made the pass to thwart the possible drive. winner.

Riverside would then miss the remaining 1:17 to secure the week zero victory against a fine Summerland team.

Riverside’s rushing offense was led by sophomore quarterback Drew Carraher, who rushed for 82 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown. Andrew Krick was not far away

Carraher’s pace, rushing for 77 yards on 14 totes and a TD. Jack Molt added 48 yards on 14 carries.

Carraher was also 5 of 13 passes for 116 yards and 2 scores with Klay Kleffner leading the receiving corps with 3 receptions, good for 63 yards and a TD.

Riverside’s defense was led by Luke Leslie, who recorded 11 tackles. Klayton Kleffner and Jack Molt added 10 saves each, Nicholas Berger of course had the timely interception and tough guy Dane Schalk stripped a ball and recovered a fumble for the Chargers.

According to Summerland’s MaxPreps page, it was All-State candidate Trevor Thomson who led all rushers with 189 yards on 22 carries, Tough running Kendrick Schroeder added 85 on 12 touches followed by QB Jaykwon Pettite, who had 62 yards. on the ground in just 8 runs.

Pettite was also 7-10 passing for 86 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Alec Schindler led all Summerland receivers with 3 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown.

Next Friday, 1-0 Riverside travels to Omaha World-Herald Pre-Season #4 Stanton, while Summerland returns home to face OWH Pre-Season #8 Crofton.

…………………………….1……..2……..3……..4……..Final

Summer Country (0-1)….0…….20…….0……..6……….26

Riverside (1-0)……….0…….20…….0……..7……….27

2nd Quarter………………………………………………………………………………… Somme-Riv

Sum-Trevor Thomson 48 run…………………………PAT-failed…………6……0

Riv-Andrew Krick 7 race……………………………….. Failed PAT……….. 6……6

Sum-Trevor Thomson Race 45………………………… PAT-Pettite Race…14…..6

Riv-Klay Kleffner 9 assists from Drew Carraher….Failed PAT…………14….12

Riv-Carraher Race 17……………………………………… PAT-Jack Molt Race..14…20

Sum-Alec Schindler 52 pass from Jaykwon Pettite..PAT-failed………20..20

4th trimester.

Sum-Michael Koenig 2 run……………………………PAT failure………….20..20

Riv-Luke Schmeits 41 pass from Drew Carraher… Failed PAT………….26..27

Team Stats………..Rushing, Passing, Total

Riverside………………116…………207……323

Summer Country…………307………….91……368

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