By Joe Skinner
LoCoSports Social Media Editor
Ashburn (August 29, 2015) — The scene couldn’t have been set any better. Not only one last chance for students to gather before school begins in Loudoun County, but a picturesque night for football.
Rock Ridge High School and the newly opened Riverside High School took to the turf to close out the summer with a bang – figuratively and literally. In a hard hitting, back-and-forth affair, the Phoenix defeated the Rams in overtime, 29-28, to earn Rock Ridge its first win in school history.
Rock Ridge kicked off the scoring in the second quarter when junior running back Eric Vivian hauled in a 67-yard touchdown pass from junior Dawson McGovern, the first of four times Vivian would find the end zone for the hometown Phoenix.
“My emotions were all over the place,” Vivian said. “We knew we had to keep our heads up and keep fighting for that football game.”
Riverside would not stay down. The Rams drove down the field on a scoring drive that was capped off with a 43-yard touchdown rush from junior running back Alex Callis to put Riverside on the board for the first time in school history.
A 77-yard touchdown run for Vivian, left the score at 14-6 as the teams headed to the locker room at the half.
“You take a bunch of sophomores and freshmen and you ask them to come to your program, get them in the weight room and ask them to believe in something that they have a lot of faith in,” Riverside head coach Brian Day said. “I’m just so proud of [the players]. We’re going to get better every week.”
Riverside came out to impress in the second half and did just that as they pinned Rock Ridge in the shadow of their own goal post and the punt return unit blocked the kick and recovered in the end zone and converted a two point try to knot up the game at 14 early in the third quarter.
Vivian was not to be outdone though, as he ripped off another enormous touchdown rush for 80 yards with under a minute left in the third quarter.
“This game will take you to the highest highs and the lowest lows, and right now I’m pretty high up there,” Rock Ridge head coach Troy Tallent said. “I’m so happy for the kids, the community. I was really proud of our student section. If you came out to watch this game, you should give them back five dollars cause you got a game and a half.”
Riverside junior defensive back Drake Barlock tied it up again with an interception return touchdown with just over ten minutes to go in the game – and while Rock Ridge had a couple chances at the end of the game to win it, the Ram defense shut down the late rally to force overtime.
“What [overtime]gives us is a little experience at doing that,” Tallent said. “You can’t ask for more of a football 101 then what this game gave you.”
In overtime, it only took three snaps to find a winner. Riverside junior running back Corey Forst put the Rams on top with a 10-yard touchdown rush, which put the Rams up by seven.
Rock Ridge needed seven points to keep overtime going – eight to end it – on their turn from the 10-yard line. And who else would you expect to have the ball in the clutch situation other than Vivian, who hustled in for not only the tying touchdown, but also the two point conversion that sealed the win for the Phoenix.
Rock Ridge hosts Loudoun Valley next Friday night, while Riverside gets to break in their new turf at home in a matchup against Turner Ashby.
2Q 11:47 RR Dawson McGovern to Eric Vivian 67-yard TD pass (Wright PAT)
2Q 2:22 RS Alex Callis 43-yard TD run (PAT failed)
2Q 1:35 RR Eric Vivian 77-yard TD run (Wright PAT)
3Q 9:22 RS Blocked Punt TD recovery (2pt good)
3Q 0:48 RR Eric Vivian 80-yard TD run (Wright PAT)
4Q 10:45 RS Drake Barlock INT TD return (Paz PAT)
OT RS Corey Forst 10-yard TD run (Paz PAT)
OT RR Eric Vivian 10-yard TD run (2pt good)