By Hanna Duenkel
LoCoSports Photo Editor
Leesburg (September 20, 2016) – On September 16, Riverside High School’s varsity football program fought for their first win in school history, an achievement that they achieved by defeating Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School, 23-14.
Riverside opened last fall, and in their first year, won a state championship in girls swimming, a trip to track and field’s VHSL 3A state championship and made a lengthy run in the volleyball postseason, amongst many other honors. Yet, they lacked the one accomplishment that could overturn their football program’s rocky start as they held an 0-10 record for their first season and went 0-3 in their first three games of 2016.
“As I told our kids, I promised them that it wasn’t going to be easy, that it was just going to be worth it,” Riverside head coach Brian Day said. “It’s special because we’re doing it for the first time. There are a lot of teams out there vying for state championships this year and doing all those things, but for us, it’s a special moment, we want it to last for a little bit.”
This win for the Rams may be the key piece for a successful second season, acting as a turning point and possibly eliminating the term “sophomore slump” from Riverside’s history books.
“Now that we know the feeling of winning we won’t want to lose it ever again,” Riverside senior running back Corey Forst said. “That is what’s going to motivate us to keep grinding.”
Now that the Rams have their first win in program history, they must find a way to convert that energy into future success, starting with their game at Brentsville District High School on September 24.
“When you’re a new program and you start out, you always want to get that first win so you can [get past it]. If you can do it once, you can do it twice,” Day said. “I think for our kids, they’re coming from very good schools in Stone Bridge, Tuscarora and Broad Run, so they have a culture of winning; they’ve been around it. I just think that they really wanted to get one for their school and for themselves.”
They have a few momentum changers from last season, such as a class of seniors to add onto the ranks of varsity athletes, more skilled linemen, the increased emphasis on defense and their offense has shifted away from their series of handoff plays to their running backs, instead opting for more short passes to receivers. These changes in Riverside’s program could add on to the increased success seen this season.
“Well it just makes all the hard work worth it, and tonight, it really paid off,” Riverside senior wide receiver Drake Barlock said. “All season we’ve gone through hardships and have faced adversity. But tonight, really made all of those hard times worth it, and the feeling we have tonight is irreplaceable.”
1Q RS Corey Forst 55-yard TD run (Hamade PAT)
2Q RS Blake Kinkoph 2-yard TD run (PAT failed)
3Q RS Brady Lipson 46-yard TD run (Hamade PAT)
4Q JPG Anthony Mancini 53-yard TD run (PAT failed)
4Q JPG Anthony Mancini 2-yard TD run (Stefonsky PAT)
4Q RS Noah Hamade 20-yard FG