Riverside opened its football season with a convincing win as Connor Cotterman rushed for 188 yards and a touchdown and returned a kickoff 89 yards for another score to lead the Pirates past host Arcanum, 20-7, in the high school football opener for both teams Aug. 28.
Cotterman, a Div. VII all-District player last year, did the heavy lifting for Riverside offense as he toted the ball 19 times, averaging a healthy 9.9 yards per carry, while racking up a total of 277 all-purpose yards. Hayden Robinson carried the ball seven times for 66 yards (9.4 yards per carry) and also broke loose for a touchdown run for the Pirates
The season-opening win is the third in as many years for Riverside, showing just how far football has come under head coach Tim McGill. Just four short years ago, the Pirate football program was a player or two from being unable to field a team. Since McGill took over the reins, the Pirates now suit up over 40 players for each game and are becoming a massive pain in the neck to the rest of the Northwest Central Conference. Last year, Riverside fell just one point short of reaching the OHSAA Div. VII football postseason. The Pirates dropped a 22-21 decision to Ft. Loramie in the season finale in what was in effect a playoff game, with the winner (in this case the Redskins) making the tournament and the loser going home.
At Arcanum, Riverside jumped out to a 14-0 advantage after the first period following touchdown runs of 42-yards by Robinson and 28-yards from Cotterman. The Trojans scored a TD late in the second quarter to cut the Pirate lead to seven, but that was followed by Cotterman taking the kickoff 89 yards to the house, giving the visitors a 20-7 cushion which held up for the rest of the game.
Defense played a huge part in getting the win for Riverside (1-0 overall, 0-0 Northwest Central Conference) as the Pirates clamped down and limited Arcanum to a just 193 total yards for the night. Jon Norris, who was an all-NWCC defensive lineman as a junior, anchored the Pirate defense with 12 tackles, while Gaven Anderson sacked the Trojan quarterback three times. Cotterman had 10 tackles, Shawn Crawford and Blake Sacks each had nine tackles and both Sacks and Hunter Kreglow recorded a sack for Riverside.
Each team fumbled the ball away once, and Riverside had 11 penalties for 85 yards.
Riverside will hit the road for the second week in a row as the Pirates travel to Arcadia Friday, Sept. 4 to tangle with Redskins in another non-conference game. Arcadia lost its football opener to Kansas Lakota, 32-12, Aug. 28. Riverside shellacked the Redskins, 57-0, in DeGraff last season.
Riverside will host its first game this year when the Pirates welcome Cedarville out of the highly competitive Ohio Heritage Conference Sept. 11. NWCC play for the Pirates beings with a trip to Ft. Loramie Sept. 18.
Tom Stephens is a regular contributor to this newspaper.