It was homecoming at Colonial Forge on Friday night. According to Elijah Sarratt, the Eagles had been ready to play Riverbend long before the game’s opening kickoff.
“There was a pep rally out there and we had great energy all day,” said the athletic junior, who returned the opening kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown to help ignite a dominating 56–0 victory by Forge. He added a 65-yard punt return for another touchdown in the third quarter.
“Elijah makes play after play for us,” said Eagles coach John Brown, whose team improved to 4–1 and 2–0 in the Commonwealth District. “We have a great atmosphere to play in and we wanted to come out and play a complete game today.”
The Eagles definitely played a complete game, scoring points with their offense, defense and special teams, and looked good in all three phases against the Bears (1–5, 0–2).
On offense, they got a touchdown pass from quarterback Madden Lowe and scoring runs from Jamal Thomas and Max Kauthen. On defense, cornerback Avery Johnson Edmonds had a pick-6, while Sarratt’s two long touchdown returns fueled the special teams.
“They’re a good team and they’re good in all phases,” said Riverbend first-year coach Nathan Yates. “That’s what makes it hard to get an edge on them.”
After Sarratt electrified the crowd with his return of the opening kickoff, the Eagles kept building steam. When the first quarter ended, they held a 21–0 lead, thanks mainly to a suffocating performance by their defense.
After Kauthen scored on a 9-yard run, Eagles linebacker Josh Johnson made the most of a slight angle on a fumble, scooped up the football and returned it 56 yards to the Riverbend 1 to set up a 1-yard plunge by Thomas.
The Eagles added to their lead in the second quarter with two more scores to take a commanding 36–0 advantage into the locker room. Lowe connected with DeLyn Palmer from 8 yards out, and then Johnson Edmonds picked off Aiden Fisher’s pass and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown.
Brown made sure his team didn’t get over-confident with the 36-point lead at the half.
“We always talk about coming out and winning the first five minutes of the second half, no matter what the situation,” said Brown. “We wanted to come out on defense and dominate, and then take the ball down the field and score.”
On the Bears’ first possession of the second half, Johnson nearly scored after intercepting Fisher again and making it all the way to the Riverbend 3. Thomas scored his second touchdown on the next play to put the Eagles in front 43–0.
Riverbend mounted a seven-play drive on its next possession behind Fisher, who completed 6 of 12 passes for 39 yards and rushed for 32 yards on the night. But Sarratt’s 65-yard punt return squelched any momentum the Bears’ had mounted.
Riverbend plays host to Massaponax on Friday, while Forge travels to unbeaten Mountain View for a big district showdown on the same night.
“Our kids will be up and I know Mountain View will be ready to roll,” said Brown. “I’ve coached with Lou [Sorrentino] and I have a lot of respect for him and that program. It’s going to be a great atmosphere. It should be a great game.”
CF— Elijah Sarratt 77-yard kickoff return (Dennys Rubio kick)
CF— Max Kauthen 9-yard run (Rubio kick)
CF—Jamal Thomas 1-yard run (Rubio kick)
CF— DeLyn Palmer 8-yard pass from Madden Lowe (Rubio kick)
CF—Avery Johnson Edmonds 49-yard INT return (Jordan Barnett pass from Lowe 2 Pt)
CF—Thomas 3-yard run (Rubio kick)
CF—Sarratt 65-yard punt return (Rubio kick).
CF—Malik Dixon 14-yard run (kick failed)
RUSHING: Riverbend— Aiden Fisher 16-32; Marquees Foster, 4-16; Tony Skinner 5-6; LaTavien Dyles 3-6; Jalen Gilmore 2-1; Jamarius Thomas 9-(-3) . Colonial Forge— Jamal Thomas 3-26, 2TDs; Avery Johnson Edmonds 2-18, 1 TD;Jaelan Black 3-22; Maliek Dixon 2-18,TD; Max Kauthen 1-9,TD; Cade Bills 1-5;Christian Stringer, 1-4; Madden Lowe 2-(-4) .
PASSING: Riverbend— Aiden Fisher 6-12-2, 39 yards; Marquees Foster 0-2-0. Colonial Forge— Madden Lowe 2-7-1, 21 yards, TD.
RECEIVING: Riverbend— Tony Skinner 4-28; Will Boroday 1-3; Jamarius Thomas 1-8. Colonial Forge— DeLyn Palmer 2-21.