A win over Jonesboro tonight will not only give Riverdale and coach Terry Herrod and his team the Region 4-AAAA, Div. B runner-up finish, but the Raiders will be above .500 for the first time since the second week of the season. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
RIVERDALE — It was hard to image a few weeks ago that tonight’s Jonesboro and Riverdale match-up would have any bearing on the Region 4-AAAA, Div. B standings.
Both teams were in the middle of losing streaks heading into their subregion schedule.
But not only will the game at Southern Crescent Stadium serve as “Senior Night” for Riverdale, but it could decide the subregion runner-up for the upcoming play-in game for the playoffs.
A win by Riverdale would put the Raiders in second place and allow them to host a region play-in game for a shot at earning a state playoff berth. It is the season finale for the Raiders, who enter the contest at 4-4 overall and 3-1 in the subregion.
Griffin has already clinched the subregion title and will host a play-in game on Nov. 8.
If Jonesboro wins, the playoff picture will not become clear until next week when the Cardinals close the season at Upson-Lee, which is tied with them for third place.
“This game will help settle things if we win,” Riverdale senior wide receiver Rashad Canty said.
“It is a real big and important game for both teams,” Jonesboro coach Tim Floyd said. “This game will put the winner in a good spot at a chance to make the playoffs.”
Riverdale started the season at 2-0 with wins over Drew and North Clayton, but hit a four-game losing streak as it sustained injuries to some key personnel. One of those injured was senior quarterback Greg Taylor, who was having an all-star season.
He went down with a knee injury in the Eagle’s Landing game after passing for 1,229 yards and 12 touchdowns with only one interception in the first five games. Sophomore Nate Williams Jr. has replaced him in the line-up during the last four games.
Williams, who is more of a running threat, has a 2-1 record as the starter.
“Coach has done a good job in keeping that team focused after losing the type of players he has this season,” Floyd said. “They have some big athletes that can run. It will be quite a challenge for our team.”
Herrod said it has been a testament to his players’ character for holding together in the face of adversity.
“We have a team of guys with high character,” said Herrod, who is in his first year at the school. “We have had some injuries, but we are not making any excuses. Injuries are part of the game. We have slowly started to come together and we are fortunate to be in this position.”
Riverdale will be off next week before the play-in games take place on Nov. 8.
“Looking at the way the schedule has fell, it works out good,” Herrod said. “We get another week to heal, and we can do some scouting.”