The Riverside-Brookfield football team didn’t have an answer for stopping Hubbard’s Ronnie Oliver in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs. Oliver rushed for 256 yards on 20 carries to help hand the Bulldogs a 30-6 loss at Gately Stadium on Friday night. It was the second time in three years that RB has lost to Hubbard in the playoffs.

On their opening drive, the Bulldogs (6-4, 5-1 Metro Suburban Conference) failed to convert a key fourth down inside the Hubbard 25. The Greyhounds responded with 14 unanswered points and never looked back.

“Hubbard is a good team, but they made some mistakes that we didn’t capitalize on,” RB wide receiver Mark McDonagh said. “We knew they were fast and athletic, but I felt we were ready.”

Riverside-Brookfield got back into the game momentarily when quarterback Billy VandeMerkt scored on a 10-yard run off a draw to cut the margin to 14-6. The Greyhounds’ Francisco Rodriguez kicked a 25-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter to extend Hubbard’s lead to 17-6.

In the second half, Hubbard (8-2) tacked on a pair of touchdowns to seal the victory. While the Greyhounds’ running attack dominated RB to the tune of 400 yards total, the Bulldogs defense had a few bright spots. Seniors Brandon Cook and Louie Dietz led RB with 16 and 14 tackles, respectively. Alex Cebular and Chris Canales had fumble recoveries, while Nick Rohm, Ian Robertson and Dan Patterson each sacked Hubbard quarterback Quinton Skanes.

Offensively, VandeMerkt completed 19-of-32 passes for 115 yards and McDonagh hauled in 12 catches for 73 yards.

Despite their early postseason exit, the Bulldogs enjoyed many highlights this season, including a 65-26 non-conference pasting of Robeson and a share of the Metro Suburban Conference title with Fenton.

McDonagh finished with 165 catches, eclipsing state and national records for most receptions in a single season.

“I had a blast this season,” he said. “I thought we fell a little short of what we hoped to accomplish. When I look back on this team a few years from now, I’ll remember all the great moments shared with my teammates and coaches.”

Although head coach Otto Zeman and his staff will lose several key players to graduation, the 2010 campaign appears promising for RB.

Dave Skowronski will likely replace VandeMerkt at quarterback, while Watoris Slater and Tyler Radek should headline the receiving corps. Defensively, Zach Sollinger, Ted Radek, Nick Tyner, Andy Suzuki, Nick Callahan, Patterson and Rohm all return.