Bill Walsh was an NFL head coach for the San Francisco 49ers during their heyday in the 1980s. He was one of the first head coaches to outline or “script” the first 15 or 20 plays his offense would run during the game, making adjustments along the way as needed. Writing a script for a football game – considered goofy at the time – earned him three Super Bowl rings and a bronze likeness in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Today, coaches from pee-wee football on up to the NFL routinely script games.
In a game against Waynesfield-Goshen Oct. 23, Riverside ran through a a script that no Hollywood producer would pick up with a pair of tongs, citing it as being too outlandish.
But proving that truth is stranger than fiction, the Pirates scored on their first three plays from scrimmage, all on runs of over 50 yards, and averaged 4.1 points per play – not including conversion attempts – on its first 10 touches in 54-13 rout of the Tigers in a Northwest Central Conference game in DeGraff. Five of the Pirates first eight plays from scrimmage went for touchdowns. The Pirates had three incomplete passes in the first two quarters, but the two that were completed went for a total of 88 yards and two TDs. By halftime, Riverside had eight touchdowns and 483 total yards on just 20 offensive plays.
The win secured the Pirates (8-1 on the season, 4-1 in the NWCC) one of the coveted top eight spots in the OHSAA’s Div. VII, Region 26, putting the Pirates in the high school football playoffs for the first time since 2005. Should the Pirates finish in the top four in the Region 26 – they hold the #4 slot going into the regular season finale – they would host the playoff opener in DeGraff.
With the loss, Waynesfield-Goshen remains winless on the season.
In addition to earning an invitation to play in Week 11, Riverside has a chance to clinch an NWCC title should it beat Hardin Northern Oct. 30 in DeGraff. Riverside and Ft. Loramie – which started out the season 0-4 – are both 5-1 in conference play. The Pirates handed the Redskins their only conference loss in Week 4, so should both Riverside and Ft. Loramie, which plays at Perry Oct. 30, win, Riverside would bring home the trophy.
GAME NOTES – The 1995 Riverside football team was honored at halftime of the Pirate/Tiger game in DeGraff Oct. 23. Two decades ago this year, the Pirates went a perfect 10-0 in winning the West Central Ohio Conference title and a earning a playoff berth. Riverside had the second seed in its region behind St. Henry, the team that went on to win the Div. VI title that year.
Tom Stephens is a regular contributor to this newspaper.