Riverside downs Susquehanna
BY SCOTT WALSH
TAYLOR – Thanks to its defense, Riverside produced just enough offense to eke out its first victory.
Junior John Plisko had a defensive touchdown and also threw for a score as the Vikings downed Susquehanna, 13-9, in a Lackawanna Football Conference crossover game Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
For the first 34 minutes, Riverside’s offense totaled only 24 yards and did not pick up its initial first down of the contest until 1:55 was left in the third quarter when Plisko found Nico Munley on a screen pass for 25 yards on a third-and-23 play.
Yet Riverside (1-3) led, 7-3, because its defense withstood the challenge of Susquehanna’s veer-option.
Early in the second quarter, with the game scoreless, Plisko stepped in front of a pitch attempt by Sabers quarterback Austin White and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown. Lacee Collins’ kick made it 7-0 with 9:29 left.
“The linemen did their job and made the quarterback bounce outside,” Plisko said. “I came up and I knew he was going to pitch it. So I jab-stepped in and the ball was right there. I got it and just put on the burners to get to the end zone.”
Minutes later, after the Sabers’ Lyle Lawson recovered a fumble at the Riverside 11, the Vikings defense held Susquehanna to a 24-yard Stephen Jesse field goal with 6:09 left in the second.
“Our defense was phenominal,” Riverside coach Evan Prall said. “It kept us in the game.
“Offensively, we have to get things going. We have too many mental errors. I know we can do it, we do it in practice. We just have to execute on Friday night.”
Over the final 14 minutes, the Vikings offense did awaken, totaling 129 yards. That included a 21-yard touchdown pass from Plisko to Munley on fourth-and-20 with 1:06 left in the fourth.
It was needed because Susquehanna (1-3) responded with a 2-yard touchdown run by White with 15.8 seconds left. The Sabers tried an onside kick, but Munley recovered to seal the win.
Back in the first quarter, Susquehanna had a White touchdown run wiped out by a penalty and Jesse wound up missing a 38-yard field-goal try.
Riverside also had Phil Kroptavich’s 85-yard second-half kickoff return for a touchdown nullified by a penalty.
SUS 0 3 0 6 – 9
RIV 0 7 0 6 – 13
RIV – Plisko 41 fumble return (Collins kick), 9:29.
SUS – Jesse 24 FG, 6:09.
RIV – Munley 21 pass from Plisko (kick failed), 1:06.
SUS – White 2 run (kick failed), 0:15.
First Downs 9 6 Rushing Yards 142 56
Comp-Att-Int 4-19-0 6-19-1
Passing Yards 40 97
Total Yards 182 153
Fumbles-Lost 4-3 3-1
Penalties-Lost 7-60 9-85
Rushing: SUS – A. White 15-63, 1 TD; A. Felter 9-36; J. Murnock 5-29; B. Hepler 8-14. RIV – J. Plisko 16-53; A. Yackabowitz 3-7; M. Green 8-4; N. Munley 3-(-7); Team 1(-1).
Passing: SUS – A. White 4-19-0, 40. RIV – J. Plisko 6-19-1, 97, 1 TD.
Receiving: SUS – C. Monks 2-30; J. Murnock 1-1; L. Brinton 1-9. RIV – N. Munley 4-78, 1TD; W. Davies 2-19.