Riverdale, Lovejoy set to renew rivalry

By Brian Howard

Two teams with the right football philosophy meet tonight, one looking to keep its unbeaten mark intact, while the other is looking to bounce back after a loss in week 2.

The Riverdale-Lovejoy high school football matchup 7:30 tonight at Twelve Oaks Stadium should prove to be a great game.

Riverdale (2-0) opened the season with a victory over North Clayton, 14-6, then followed its week 1 performance with a 20-7 win over Morrow.

But the 2-0 start isn't what concern's Raiders coach Nick Davis.

Davis, in his second season as coach, said the Lovejoy game is a big game and that Riverdale should have no trouble getting up for Lovejoy.

"They are a tough opponent with a superstar at quarterback," Davis said.

The Wildcats (1-1) are lead by University of Auburn commitment Mario Fannin, but coach Al Hughes was quick to recognize that Lovejoy isn't a one-person team.

"If he's not a key component to our offense, then something is wrong," Hughes said. "We've got a tailback, Octavious Edge, that is close to 300 yards this season and a wide receiver, Chris Hail, that was preseason all-state."

Other key players Hughes expects to make a difference is Curtis Strong, Lee Isom and Patrick Jones.

The biggest component to these two squads is the matchup against North Clayton. Riverdale opened the season with a win against the Eagles, but in week 2, Lovejoy fell victim to North Clayton, 21-16.

Edge had 104 yards rushing against North Clayton, while Fannin finished with 98 yards.

Hughes said the team isn't worried about North Clayton, because that was last week's opponent, but focused on this week's game against Riverdale.

"We are scared to death to face them," Hughes said. "They have a great team and great tradition."

One thing Lovejoy has going for them entering tonight's game is a 3-0 record against the Raiders the past three seasons.

"This isn't so much a game of revenge for us," Davis said. "We want to win to keep us unbeaten. For our seniors, there is some motivation there to beat Lovejoy, because they hadn't beaten them."

Hughes said the 3-0 mark isn't so much a tribute to how dominate one school has been, but how fortunate Lovejoy has been to walk away with the victory.

"We've been fortunate in the past," Hughes said. "Some of the games have come down to the last quarter and in last year's game, it came down to overtime."

After tonight''s contest, Riverdale will meet Mundy's Mill Sept. 10, while Lovejoy

Riverdale plays Mundy's Mill Sept. 10, while Lovejoy meets Morrow.