OAKWOOD — Riverside Military Academy quarterback Shad Dabney scored the game-winning touchdown on a 2-yard keeper and added the two-point conversion to give the Eagles a 32-24 win over Johnson Friday night at Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium.
The score was Dabney’s third of the night, to go along with 20 carries for 244 yards.
Riverside took a commanding 24-7 lead halfway through the third quarter, but Johnson erased the deficit with three scoring drives on its next four possessions.
Coach Stan Luttrell's running attack chewed up more than 7 minutes and 63 yards, leading to a Steven Flores 35-yard game-tying field goal with 1:59 remaining.
That’s when the Eagles offense drove right back down the field, going 55 yards in just 37 seconds to score the eventual winning touchdown.
The ensuing kickoff pinned the Knights on their own 8-yard line, and Riverside’s Adriel Clark intercepted Johnson quarterback Jack Luttrell’s third-down pass to seal the win for the Eagles (2-1).
Eagles coach Nick Garrett said he was proud of his team for coming up with the scoring drive when they needed it most.
“We fought to the very end, and when we needed to score, we did," he said. "It was a fantastic game, a joy to watch, a joy to coach.”
Following a scoreless first quarter in which both teams exchanged long drives, Johnson would strike first sparked by a 59-yard interception return by Caleb Jackson to the Riverside 35-yard line. Six plays later, Johnson’s Dayshun Summerour (15 carries, 82 yards) found the end zone on a 13-yard run to give the Knights an early 7-0 lead.
The Eagles answered immediately courtesy of Nic Hester taking the kickoff all the way back for a touchdown. The extra point was blocked though, keeping the score at 7-6.
Johnson sustained a long drive down to the Eagles 30, but an unsuccessful fourth down attempt turned the ball over on downs. Riverside needed only four plays, runs of 14, 7, 14, and 39 yards for a Dabney touchdown to take a 12-7 lead into halftime.
The Eagles defense stood tall right out of the locker room coming up with a stop on fourth down at midfield and didn’t waste any time taking advantage of the good field position.
On their first play, Dabney took the shotgun snap and ran 47 yards around the end for the score. An unsuccessful two-point attempt kept the score at 18-7.
Riverside’s Jordan Thomas made a nice one-handed interception grab three plays into Johnson's next drive, which set the Eagles up at the Johnson 34-yard line.
Riverside scored again, this time in 5 plays, capped by a Dabney 17-yard pass to Adriel Clark to the front of the left endzone for the touchdown.
Down 24-7, Johnson went to the air to look for some quick offense. Incompletions on first and second down had the Knights facing a crucial 3rd and 10 where a roughing the passer penalty kept the drive alive. Two plays later, Nolan Bullock (23 carries, 133 yards) took the handoff 33 yards to the endzone.
A Dabney fumble at the Eagle 32-yard line would give Johnson a chance to score again quickly. That they did going 5 plays and 32 yards highlighted by a Luttrell (14 carries, 78 yards) 10-yard touchdown run pushing through some Eagles along his way.
Riverside looked to have sealed the game on a nicely executed fake punt pass for 50 yards and a touchdown, but the play was called back for an ineligible man downfield forcing the Eagles to punt the ball away. The Knights were able to answer with a long field goal drive to tie the game, but the Eagles came up with the final score to earn the win.
The Eagles will have a bye week this week, before traveling to Prince Avenue Christian on September 27. The Knights will travel to Cross Keys next week for an early kickoff, 5:15 pm.