Riverview offense is explosive and dangerous

HANK MINCKIEWICZ

In the previous 10 years the Riverview football team has scored 50 or more points four times. In the past three weeks, the unbeaten Bucs have done it twice.

Riverview clobbered archrival Grosse Ile 60-29 in its Huron League finale and then, after a 2-0 forfeit win over Redford Thurston, Riverview opened the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 state playoff with a 59-6 blowout of Melvindale on Oct. 30.

With the win, the Huron League champion Pirates improved to 7-0 on the season.

Riverview coach Derek McLaughlin said he and the team are happy to be playing and the league title and unbeaten season are icing on the cake.

“I’m blessed to be coaching; we’re blessed to be playing football,” he said.

The win boosted the Pirates into the next round of districts against defending MHSAA D3 state champ River Rouge. Rouge beat Muskegon 30-7 to win the state title last year and the Panthers are 5-1 this year with four shutouts. Results of the Riverview-Rouge game were available after the Register’s deadline.

Huron and Allen Park remain alive on the other side of the district bracket.

In the game against Melvindale, the Pirates came out and put their foot on the Cards’ necks in the first quarter, scoring in the first minute of the game and rolling up 38 points in the first 12 minutes alone.

Preston Thompson picked off a Melvindale pass and returned it 58 yards for a score to get the rout started. Still in the first quarter, Thompson scored on a 57-yard run and hit Cal Lockhart with a 24-year scoring pass. Jimari Moultri scored on a 29-yard run and Ben Johnson scored on a 20-yard run and by the time the first quarter was over, so was the game.

Riverview scored one more touchdown in each of the remaining quarters with Jonathan Overall, Gavin Blackwood and Jared Brandes doing the honors.

The Huron League finale against Grosse Ile was a wild shootout, at least it was in the first half. After the intermission, the Riverview defense stiffened, while the Red Devils could not find an antidote for the potent Buc offense.

Riverview did all it’s offensive work on the ground as 13 different Pirates carried the ball and the team rolled up 551 rushing yards. Quarterback Thompson threw one pass and it was incomplete.

Five runners — Moultri, Preston, Johnson, Christian Lopez and Jacob Puma — rushed for 40 or more yards. Leading the way was Puma,who had a monster night with 205 yards on 11 carries and three touchdowns. Lopez had 129 yards and he also had a touchdown.

In addition to Puma and Lopez, Riverview got rushing touchdowns from Thompson, Moultrie and Blackwood.

Defensively, Riverview had seven tackles for loss, including three from Lockhart. Lopez had 11 tackles in the game and Moultrie and Johnson had eight each.

Grosse Ile’s lefty quarterback Nate Brown passed for 301 yards and three TDs against the Bucs, but the Riverview defenders got him, too, with three pass interceptions. Moultrie, Johnson and Zach Werling had the picks, with Johnson taking his back for a score.

Grosse Ile senior running back Joey Pizzo has been unstoppable in some games this year, but the Bucs stopped him, holding him to fewer than 100 yards from scrimmage. He had 40 yards rushing and 42 receiving.

Grosse Ile wound up scoring 17 more points against the Bucs than anyone else has this season, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” said Grosse Ile coach John Bodner. “We did everything we could, they just outmuscled us.”

With the win, Riverview kept possession of the Colvin Cup, which goes to the annual winner of this rivalry game. The Red Devils won the trophy during their unbeaten league championship season in 2018, but the Bucs won it back last week and retained it this year.

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