By Jeffery Armstrong
SHARPSBURG The Riverdale Raiders football team traveled to East Coweta Friday night in first place in Region 4-AAAAA.
But once the game ended, the Raiders found themselves out of the top spot.
The East Coweta Indians took control of the region contest from the opening drive, scoring on all six of their first-half possessions en route to a 33-13 massacre of Riverdale in front of an excited homecoming crowd at Shoemake Stadium.
The Indians (5-1, 3-0) moved the ball at will against Riverdale in the first half and coasted to the victory. Riverdale (4-1, 1-1) seemed flat and uninspired to start the game.
"I'm upset that we didn't get after the ball at all tonight," said Riverdale head coach Rodney Hackney. "The guys just didn't do what we wanted them to do. Hopefully, we can bounce back from this and salvage the season."
The Raiders played an ugly first half, committing three straight turnovers on their first three possessions (two fumbles and an interception).
Unfortunately it didn't end there. Riverdale committed four fumbles in the half. The team didn't get its initial first down until the 9:33 mark of the second quarter, and had 43 yards of total offense at the break.
East Coweta, on the other hand, rang up 264 total first-half yards, scoring five touchdowns and one field goal on their possessions en route to a 33-0 halftime lead.
The Indians offense took advantage of good field position as the offensive line opened big holes for their running backs and allowed plenty of time for sophomore quarterback Alex Holloway to pick apart the Raider defense. The only thing East Coweta did wrong in the first half was botch all five point-after attempts.
Holloway finished 8 of 13 for 145 yards with touchdown passes of 22 and 37 yards. He also rushed nine times for 40 yards. It came at an opportune time, since Indians star running back Brantley Kendall, a senior, was out with a sprained MCL.
Riverdale sophomore quarterback Tim Johnson couldn't get anything going due to the immense pressure he faced from East Coweta.
He finished 9 of 15 for 94 yards with TD passes to Kevin McCullough and Chris Mingo. Johnson threw three interceptions, was sacked six times and fumbled three times.
Riverdale shut out East Coweta in the second half and outgained them 238-117, but was too late.
Riverdale hosts first-place Newnan at Tara Stadium next week.