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After recovering a fumble during the Riverside-Brookfield football team’s 37-13 shellacking of Ridgewood on Friday night, Bulldogs defensive lineman Zach Sollinger emphatically beat his chest a la King Kong. The 6-foot-6, 295-pound Sollinger’s gesture symbolically foreshadowed the Bulldogs showdown against Fenton this weekend.
Both teams enter the fray fight-ready with bragging rights, the Metro Suburban Conference championship, and a playoff berth on the line.
While the Bison held up their end of the bargain by routing Elmwood Park 61-6, the Bulldogs also rolled against visiting Ridgewood.
Riverside-Brookfield opened the scoring on Tyler Floros’ nine-yard touchdown run with 4:32 left in the first quarter. Quarterback David Skowronski scored on a seven-yard scamper and RB added a two-point conversion to go up 14-0 with 20 seconds left in the opening quarter. Junior Adam Kuta kicked a 24-yard field goal to extend the Bulldogs’ advantage to 17-0 with three minutes left until halftime.
In the third quarter, RB picked up the pace, scoring on three-straight possessions to bust the game open at 37-0. Skowronski scored on a four-yard run (10:53 left in the third quarter), Skowronski threw a 76-yard touchdown pass to Watoris Slater (9:15), and Floros found the end zone again on a eight-yard run (4:08) to close the Bulldogs’ efficient scoring spree.
“At halftime, [our] coaches made their changes and we started rolling,” Skowronski said. “I think Tyler Floros is becoming a great ball carrier. He’s learning how to power people over and he has great speed and agility.”
The Rebels’ Kern Christian (115 yards rushing) scored a pair of touchdowns on runs of 59 and 15 yards in the fourth quarter to make the score 37-13.
Ridgewood (1-7, 1-4) struggled on offense committing six fumbles. Mark Swift (six tackles) recovered two of those fumbles for RB, while Nick Callahan, Mark Musial, Andrew Nelms and Sollinger all scooped up one apiece for the opportunistic Bulldogs. Slater had 3.5 tackles for loss.
“After our fourth loss [this season], we have treated every game like it’s the playoffs,” Slater said. “We have to play with intensity and bring the heat.”
The Bulldogs have forced 26 turnovers (over three per game) this season.
“It feels great to get this win because I’ve never had a love for Ridgewood,” said RB linebacker Brad Bednar with a wry smile. “We made a few mistakes, but I thought we played pretty well defensively.”
Since a 0-3 start, RB has won four of five games under first-year head coach Jason Rech. The Bulldogs welcome Fenton on Friday (7 p.m.) in the aforementioned winner-take-all scenario. In the first meeting on Oct. 1, RB edged Fenton 22-21.
“We have a home playoff this week,” Rech said. “No matter what the game is played for; it means the world to us. We love our chances, but it’s going to be a battle.”
RB also hopes to welcome back senior wideout/defensive back Tyler Radek, who missed the Ridgewood game due to illness.
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