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Riverdale puts it all on the line

Riverdale will be hoping for a big game from senior quarterback Greg Taylor in tonight’s Region 4-AAAA play-in game at Eagle’s Landing. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

Riverdale will be hoping for a big game from senior quarterback Greg Taylor in tonight’s Region 4-AAAA play-in game at Eagle’s Landing. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

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Riverdale coach Terry Herrod said eliminating the big plays from Eagle’s Landing potent offense will be key in tonight’s region play-in game. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

RIVERDALE — There is still time for Riverdale to turn this into a successful season.

Actually the Raiders have 48 minutes to salvage the season when they meet Eagle’s Landing tonight in a Region 4-AAAA play-in game.

Riverdale enters the game with a 4-5 overall record and the No. 3 seed from Region 4-AAAA, Div. B after battling through several injuries.

“We are in a situation where we either win or go home,” Riverdale coach Terry Herrod said. “We had some adversity that we had to overcome, but injuries are part of the game. We have put ourselves in the mindset that our backs are up against the wall.”

This will be the second meeting between Riverdale and Eagle’s Landing with the Golden Eagles winning the earlier contest 31-10 on Sept. 27. The score was only 10-3 at half time, but after Raiders quarterback Greg Taylor left the game, Eagle’s Landing took control.

In that game, Eagle’s Landing rolled up 464 yards of offense, 234 of them coming through the air.

Golden Eagles quarterback Bradley Dewberry has passed for 1,679 yards and 19 touchdowns with only two interceptions while running back Corey Holloway and Sedrick Palmer have combined for 1,615 yards and 17 touchdowns to give them one of the most potent offenses in the region.

“They have a lot of weapons,” Herrod said. “They have a lot of players that you have to account for on every play. They are a very unselfish group. Eagle’s Landing is a really good looking ballclub. We have to be lined up right and minimize our mistakes on defense.”

Eagle’s Landing is experiencing its best regular season in school history. The 7-2 record represents the most wins in a single season for the program, which is trying to secure only its second playoff berth since the school opened in 1992.

Joe Teknipp says that tonight’s matchup looms large — especially for his seniors.

“It’s huge for them, because they’re the ones who laid it all on the line, stayed with the program and said we’re going to stick with it because we know we can win,” Eagle’s Landing coach Joe Teknipp said.

The fact that the Golden Eagles senior class thought that way is a testament to their mental strength and patience, given what they’d been through over the previous three years.

Consider this: If you add up all the wins from the 2009-12 seasons, you would still have to go back and borrow four more from the 2008 season — Teknipp’s first, and Eagle’s Landing’s last playoff appearance — in order to match this year’s win total.

It wasn’t just this senior class that has experienced the losses, however. Since 1992, the school has had just three winning seasons, and only four non-losing seasons. This year’s Eagle’s Landing squad is the first in school history to win more than six games.

And according to Teknipp, his Golden Eagles aren’t ready to end the season tonight, either.

“This could be the biggest game in school history,” he said. “We’re at home, playing a quality opponent with everything on the line. We’re trying as hard as we can to keep it like any other game, but we know this is a little bit bigger than that.”

Staff writer Gabriel Stovall contributed to this article.