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7-0 Riverside’s passing attack too much for Lakeland, 44-13

Written by: on Saturday, October 11th, 2008. Follow Eric Galko on Twitter.

I can’t see any team outside of Dunmore competing with Riverside this season. A bold statement to make from the start, but throughout the domination of a proud Lakeland team, Riverside seemed like the real deal, and a sure fire State championship contender. They have probably the best passing attack in the district, and put up points like the Missouri Tigers, averaging a smooth 41 points per game. And, if a viewer hadn’t known their top running back and maybe best player, Senior Joe Klebon was out for the game, they still wouldn’t have thought this team can be much better. Riverside was that dominating over a solid Lakeland team and the rest of their opponents should be very, very afraid.
On their first possession, Riverside drove right down the field on a nice, easy drive, running the ball effectively and a few throws. But, the drive was capped off a pass from Senior John Velehoski to Sophomore Nick Rossi, a 32 yard connection. This gave Riverside a 6-0 lead, after a failed 2 point conversion attempt, only used because Joe Klebon, star running back, is also their kicker.
On the ensuing kickoff, Riverside sneakily tries an onside kick, trying to catch the anxious Lakeland playmakers off-guard. But, after an offside on the kicking team was called, negating the recovery, Riverside was forced to move back 5 yards and kickoff again. But, Head Coach Harry Armstrong III wasn’t ready to give up on his game plan. Armstrong had the guts to call a second straight onside kick attempt, and once again, Riverside recovered, this time okayed because of no penalties. Riverside again had possession, and proceeded down the field on another long drive down the field. That drive, lead by running back Matt Talerico who scored the ending touchdown, went 54 yards and gave Riverside a 12-0 lead before Lakeland’s offense got a chance to try and compete with the Vikings offense.

Lakeland started their first drive at their own 24 yard line. After the hitch play to Vinnie Amacio, by far the most consistent and overused play in their arsenal; they got a first down and brought new life to the raging and hungry crowd. But, 3 plays later, Lakeland punted the ball away, putting the ball in the hands of the best offense in their district. Velehoski, who had been solid before this, showed why he may be a college quarterback, as his arm strength, accuracy, touch, smarts, and quickness were demonstrated on this 58 yard drive, finished off with a touchdown pass to his favorite receiver, Senior Kevin Sochovka, for a 12 yard score. Riverside would convert their first 2 point conversion, and stay in the lead, 20-0. By the end of the first quarter, Riverside QB John Velehoski already was 6-7, 94 yards passing and 2 scores. This was to be a common scenario throughout the remainder of this game.

After two poor drives of both teams to start the second quarter, Lakeland finally got in a scoring position, lead by under-used running back Brett Kuwick, Junior, who has been stuck behind the plethora of good Lakeland running backs. He was the force on the drive, and set Lakeland up in the red zone for the first time. Then, a perfectly executed reverse to receiver and backup quarterback Tony Perrigrin, who proceeded to throw a tight spiral into the wide open arms of outstanding Senior receiver Vinny Amacio. Now that Lakeland was on the board, it seemed as though this game could get back into reach.

That, however, was short lived. Riverside went on an 80 yard drive, thanks to the outstanding accuracy of Velehoski and the timing between him and his top 4 receivers, Sochovka, Sr. Ryan Chisdock, So. Corey Talerico, and Rossi. The drive was capped off by a spectacular, NFL type bobbling catch over the outstretched arms the tightly covering defender. After converting another 2 point conversion, Riverside took the lead to 28-7, and put the game into almost cruise control for both teams going into the half. The biggest stat at half time was the difference in quarterback stats. Lakeland QB Jr. Ryan Kiehart, who has tons of talent and should be great next season, was a respectable 5-7 for 36 yards. His counterpart for the game, Riverside Sr. QB John Velehoski was 12-15 for 189 yards and 2 TDs.

The second half was very similar to the first. Lakeland had a solid drive to start the second half, but an incomplete pass killed that drive which was inside the Riverside 25. Riverside then went 77 yards in a drive that took over 8 minutes, finishing it off with another TD pass by Velehoski to RB Matt Talerico. With the score now 36-7 Riverside, the once jam-packed stadium was slowly beginning to look like your average Tampa Bay Ray’s regular season game. Even though Vinne Amacio did catch a finger-tip grab and ran 50 more yards for a 66 yard TD, cutting the lead to 36-13, the game was still thought of as over.

After a 4 and turnover for both teams, Riverside showed their first and only sign of poor play, as the near perfect John Velehoski through an interception to Sr. DB Dom Massino. Lakeland wouldn’t be able to capitalize on that drive, and after one more Riverside score by Andrew Kavulich with both second team’s in, the game would slowly, but surely end.

The final score of 44-13 is a good indicator of how the game actually was. Riverside dominated 95 percent of the game, allowing only 2 good drives and 1 deep pass play defensively. And on offense, John Velehoski finished 17-24 for 297 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. Not bad for a 29 man roster at a small high school. Also, Sr. RB Matt Talerico had 21 carries for 124 yards and a score.

Riverside’s offense is definitely one to watch, and the only team I know of that has a chance to beat them is Dunmore. So, instead of roaming the streets rummaging for candy, check out the biggest game in our area in quite a while, when Dunmore travels to Riverside to play a game of small school forces.



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3 Responses to “7-0 Riverside’s passing attack too much for Lakeland, 44-13”

  1. RV fan says:

    Nice article. It’s nice to see Riverside portrayed in a positive light. I just wish the line would get a little credit too.

  2. Allan Rupert says:

    A Lakeland fan here. Riverside is athletic across the field. Precision O-lineplay, not a pot belly in the lot. The crew in the backfield handles the ball, runs routes and throws to the spot as well as I have seen in NEPA in recent years. Riverside is top shelf!

  3. phil godlewski says:

    Riverside’s QB is JAY Velehoski. John is his fathers name. sigh.

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