by Riley Hicks
It’s make or break it time for the county football teams as the road to the playoffs begins this week. The non-region slate was kinder to some teams than others, but that’s all out the window. Now that region play is underway, it’s the start to a new season.
The McIntosh Chiefs kicked off region play Thursday night as they traveled to face the Riverdale Raiders. McIntosh got off to a hot start, but a strong ground attack by Riverdale allowed them to pull away for a 40-20 victory.
The Chief defense opened the game with the best possible outcome as Nathan Anderson recovered a fumble at the Riverdale 20-yard line. This set the offense up with great field position, and they made quick work of it, capping off the drive with a Dane Kinamon 1-yard touchdown run. Kinamon ran up the heart of the defense to give the Chiefs a 7-0 lead with 7:55 left in the 1st quarter.
Riverdale struggled early to get anything going offensively. When they did manage to score a tying touchdown, it was negated due to a holding call. Late in the quarter, the Chiefs almost took a 14-point lead on a long touchdown run by Kinamon, but an illegal procedure penalty called back the touchdown and forced McIntosh to punt.
The Raiders finally got on the board following a 45-yard pass to Jaelyn Lay from Avaun Rucker that put them at the 5-yard line. A few plays later, Phalon Daniels scored on a 7-yard touchdown run off the right side. After missing the extra point, the Chiefs held a 7-6 lead with 6:48 left in the second quarter.
From this point in the game, the Chiefs’ offensive momentum completely halted. Several drives ended in a three and out and put the defense right back on the field. An exhausted McIntosh defense allowed Riverdale to score 33 unanswered points heading into to the fourth quarter. The Raiders scored on a 12-yard misdirection from Daniels, and on their next drive Tremain Moore caught a 65-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion catch from Lay gave the Raiders a 20-7 lead going into the half.
The Chiefs tried to find a spark in the second half via their running game, but a stout Raider defense continued to shut down any momentum. Riverdale continued the scoring with a 26-yard run from Dante Walker and a Fred Collins 5-yard touchdown. He scampered into the end zone to give the Raiders a 33-7 lead heading into the fourth.
McIntosh looked to make a late run to get back into the game after scoring two touchdowns in under two minutes. After making a quarterback change and putting in sophomore Hayes Herzog, he led the Chiefs on a long drive and capped it off with a 25-yard pass to Ryan Cate to pull within 33-13. A few plays later, a fumble by the Raiders gave the ball right back to the Chiefs. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Cate broke free on a reverse. He sprinted into open field and scored 42-yard touchdown run. The Raiders nearly got him, but he spun off a defender to score. His touchdown closed the gap to 33-20 with 9:18 left in the fourth.
The Raiders ended any sort of comeback hopes after Moore caught a 31-yard touchdown to double up McIntosh 40-20. Riverdale salted the clock away and picked up their first region win.
For McIntosh, the road to the playoffs just got a little bit harder with the loss, but the Chiefs still have time to bounce back. When they return to action from a bye week, they host the Fayette County Tigers on October 5.
To see more photos from the game, click [btn type=”default or primary or success or info or warning or danger or link” link=”https://www.cdphotography23.com/Sports/High-School/Football/Football-2018/Riverdale-vs-McIntosh”]here[/btn].