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Byrnes wins mismatch at Riverside, 76-7

Published on Saturday, October 10, 2015

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Riverside's Robert Wang tries to find some running room against Byrnes Friday night.
 

Julie McCombs

Riverside's Robert Wang tries to find some running room against Byrnes Friday night.

 



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Riverside High School Head Football Coach Phil Smith questioned his team's toughness.
 
 
 

Julie McCombs

Riverside High School Head Football Coach Phil Smith questioned his team's toughness.

 

 

 



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Jaylan Foster of Byrnes is en route to the end zone on one of his two punt returns for touchdowns in the first half.
 
 

Julie McCombs

Jaylan Foster of Byrnes is en route to the end zone on one of his two punt returns for touchdowns in the first half.

 

 



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Logan Young is surprised at being named Riverside Homecoming Queen Friday night. Placing the crown is Erin Woods, 2014 homecoming queen.
 

Julie McCombs

Logan Young is surprised at being named Riverside Homecoming Queen Friday night. Placing the crown is Erin Woods, 2014 homecoming queen.

 



On paper winless Riverside didn’t match up with No. 3-ranked Byrnes in a Class 4A matchup Friday night at the Reservation. On the field it was even worse as Byrnes handed Riverside one of its worst defeats in school history, 76-7.

Byrnes, annually one of the elite state teams, was ranked No. 3 and its only blemish was last week’s loss to No. 1-ranked Spartanburg. The roster looks like a who’s who of size, speed and talent already two Shrine Bowl picks – Chavis Dawkins, wide receiver, and Jaylon Foster, running back/defensive back.

Riverside had been shut out in half of its games and entered Friday’s game averaging 2.6 points while opponents were scoring at a 47-point average. Byrnes pushed that average to 51 points a game Friday.

A disastrous first half, featuring two Foster touchdowns on punt returns and three long touchdown passes quickly made the outcome moot.

Riverside Head Coach Phil Smith, at times, was at a loss for words explaining the play of his team, a defense that is run over roughshod, and the team’s toughness.

“My biggest concern is growing up and being tough,” Smith said. “We’re just not a tough football team. When you can’t match their (Byrnes) toughness you’re going to get run over and get scored on. You’re going to give up 76 points.

“Defensively, I just don’t know what to do,” Smith, who coaches the defense, said. “We’ve got to become better tacklers, and all that garbage. We’ve got to understand our coverage. We had three busted coverages tonight that ended up in touchdowns. Those things we didn’t have last year.

“That we were able to stop their run game was impressive. We can continue to improve on that,” Smith said.

Riverside had a breakthrough season last year, winning its first Class 4A game and making the state playoffs for the first time.

“Of course when you lose as many starters as we did, it’s tough,” Smith said. “We’re going through the pains right now. We’ve got a lot of young kids starting.”

Quarterback Aaron Odom connected with wide receiver Daniel Peake and Atoine Kahaleh’s point after kick kept Riverside from being shutout with 7:52 remaining in the fourth quarter. Running back Austin Brouwer had a key run to give Riverside a first down on the drive.

Riverside junior lineman Bennett Freeman said he didn’t relish spoiling Byrnes’ shutout or the final score. “Every game we try to go out and try to score (as much as we can) and try to improve in some way. You never give up. We’ve got to try to the last play of the game and give it our all.”

Smith was pleased with some individual efforts – all on offense.

“Our offense was on the field longer than the defense tonight. We had some good plays. We had some positive plays on offense.”

Austin Brouwer, coming off a groin injury, had a key run for a first down in Riverside’s touchdown drive.

“Austin Brouwer came back from an injury. He played running back for us last year until he got that concussion,” Smith said.

“He’s (Brouwer) has been out three to four weeks with the injury. And to see him get in there and run the football is good. I am proud of him in taking on that role, stepping up and running the football like a running back is supposed to do,” Smith said.

Robert Wang was impressive Smith said. “He made some nice runs.”

“I was proud of Aaron Odom,” Smith said. “Every time he would drop back for a pass he would get hit. He took it and got up for every one of them.”

Smith said Odom has been asked to throw the ball away instead of taking hits on pass plays. “We’ve been trying to get him to throw the ball out of bounds instead of taking sacks,” Smith said.

“He was able to do that tonight. That’s something that’s positive. He’s starting to understand don’t hold on to it, get it out of your hands.”

Smith came back to questioning his team’s toughness. “The biggest thing is we’ve got to become tougher. When you play Region II-4A you play guys like this every week,” Smith said.

Smith described the toughness he expects from his players. “If you don’t have the guts enough to stick your face in there … that’s toughness,” he said.

“When you play the game and you are scared of contact, you can’t play this game. We don’t have the guys to give it up on every single play for the betterment of the team. That’s hard to handle,” Smith said.

Smith may have been describing Byrnes’s final score with seconds left in the game. Byrnes took a delay of game penalty at the one-yard line. That backed up Byrnes five yards but meant one more play had to be run to get the clock moving. Byrnes ran the ball up the middle and Greer’s defense was shredded for a final time.

“We’re just young, and inexperienced and we have a lot of work to do,” Smith said. “There are some positives we can take from this. Defensively, it’s the worst I’ve ever seen. Me as a coach, I expect the product I put on the field to be better than we do.”

• Senior Logan Young was crowned 2015 Riverside High School Homecoming Queen at halftime of Friday's football game. The 2014 queen, Erin Woods, crowned Young, who was escorted by her father, Ralph Young.
 

 

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