Riverdale wide receiver Rashad Canty and his mother, Angela Canty, stand on the sideline before the game as the team observed Senior Night and homecoming at Southern Crescent Stadium on Friday. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
RIVERDALE — Riverdale thought it had the pretty element of surprise against Jonesboro in the teams’ Region 4-AAAA, Divison B contest on Friday.
Raiders quarterback Greg Taylor was supposedly done for the season with a torn ACL injury he sustained against Eagle’s Landing a few weeks ago. Leading up to the game, Jonesboro had prepared for Riverdale backup quarterback Nate Williams Jr.
But when Riverdale had its first possession of the game, Taylor was on the field.
“Yeah, I was totally surprised to see him,” Jonesboro coach Tim Floyd said.
Although the Cardinals were surprised, they didn’t go into panic mode. Taylor threw for three touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough as Jonesboro won the crucial subregion game 37-27 at Southern Crescent Stadium to run the Raiders’ “Senior Night” and homecoming festivalties on a cold night.
With the win, Jonesboro can lock up second place in the subregion with a win over Upson-Lee next week. The Cardinals are 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the subregion. Riverdale is 4-5 and 3-2.
Griffin is the subregion champion.
“I’m real pleased at my team’s effort,” Floyd said. “We didn’t finish as strong as I would have liked, but we got the win, which is the most important thing now.”
Riverdale has a bye week next week before playing in the region play-in game on Nov. 8.
“We got to put this behind us, and focus on the play-in game,” Riverdale coach Terry Herrod said. “It is one of those things where we will have to stop beating ourselves. We are in single-game elimination now. We have talked about this all year.”
Jonesboro set the tone early when junior Artemus Mitchell returned the opening kickoff 82 yards for a score as the Cardinals went up 6-0 with 11:38 remaining.
But Riverdale would not lose its composure as they scored on the ensuing drive when Taylor connected with Rashad Canty on a 46-yard scoring play with 8:52 remaining.
It was the first of three touchdowns for Canty, who has committed to Appalachian State, but will visit Minnesota today.
“This was the perfect game for us,” Jonesboro quarterback/wide receiver Mario Atkinson said. “Everybody had pretty much counted us out after our slow start. That touchdown by Artemus was huge. We wanted to pound and not let up. Riverdale is a good team, and they fought hard.”
After Jonesboro took a 37-19 lead with 4:36 remaining in the game on a 35-yard run by Montralious Mosely, the Cardinals seemed in control.
However, Riverdale would not go away quietly.
Canty answered with a 9-yard touchdown reception from Taylor to pull to within 37-27 with 2:20 remaining after they hooked up again on a
Riverdale recovered the onside kick and mounted a drive with 2:13 remaining.
The Raiders chances ended when Taylor was stopped short on a fourth-and-13 play from Jonesboro’s 19 with 1:18 remaining.
“It felt good being back out there,” Taylor said. “We fought hard to the end. Our backs are against the wall, but my team will finish the drill.”