The game of football has three phases: offense, defense, and special teams. Under each phase is a sub-phase that contributes to a victory, such as passing, rushing, turnovers, tackling, kicking, and punting. All these and more were won by the Panthers of Riverside in a one-sided, full dominant 40-0 victory Friday night.
As Riverside was playing spoils to Senior Night at Helling Stadium, all Wolverines were lost on how quickly things turned during the evening. Riverside was led by quarterback Ben Hughes as well as wide receiver Austin Dambach, who contributed to the scoreboard early at the 9:05 mark in the first quarter, as Dambach caught a touchdown pass from QB Hughes, starting the lop-sided scoring on the evening in favor of the Panthers. The extra point was good by Wyatt Ray as the Panthers led early 7-0.
Another score was added late in the first quarter as Austin Dambach ran from 11 yards out with the PAT good by Ray as the Wolverines were quickly behind entering quarter two, 14-0. The second quarter was more of the first quarter, a dominance by the Panthers. Two more scores were added before halftime – Nic Ottaviani bullied his way into the endzone from 4 yards out and Noah Harris caught another TD pass from Hughes 39 Yards out. As both teams headed to their respectable locker rooms, Riverside led 28-0.
Stats at halftime were all in favor of the Panthers as their offense had over 250+ yards and their defense held the Wolverines to negative yards rushing. The second half was more of the same – it didn’t take long for the Panthers to add to their score, in fact just three minutes into the quarter Woodrow Hughes caught the third touchdown pass by Hughes 26 yards out. The PAT this time was short as Riverside took the lead into the fourth quarter 34-0. Even though the 35-point mercy rule was not into effect, the faces of the Wolverine faithful told the story the rest of the way.
One more score was added to the scoreboard coming into the fourth quarter, as Dylan Shannon caught the fourth touchdown pass by Hughes from 36 yards out at the 9:44 mark, which put the game under the mercy rule. The one lone bright play by the Wolverines was that of Luca Botti, who blocked the final PAT attempt, which now gives him 6 total blocks (5 PATs, 1 FG) on the season. As the seconds counted down, the teams started back to their sidelines where the handshakes were to ensue.
The Wolverines knew they were beat after a huge hill to climb; however, the Wolverine faithful were appreciated by the fact that these same Wolverines had won 2 games on the season, shut out Beaver Falls 28-0 on the same field, but more importantly, created an atmosphere, a bond, a culture that will not be broken no matter how hard the climb will ever be.
The Wolverines finish the 2017 campaign against conference foe Quaker Valley Quakers 8-1 (5-1), who come into the week on high hopes as they look to further their seeding in the playoff race. Quaker crushed Seton LaSalle, an unbeaten team from the Allegheny 3A Conference 42-7. Ellwood will look to finish the season on a bright side as the Wolverines have been outscored 75-7 the past two weeks.