Off to a 1-3 start, the Riverside-Brookfield football team faces a tall order to get back on a winning track. Perhaps, the Bulldogs need to look no further than their towering 6-foot-6, 180-pound senior wideout Alex Huffhines for inspiration.
Rich East pulled away for a 30-16 win over RB on Saturday, although Huffhines provided a few offensive highlights by snagging a pair of touchdown catches.
“Alex has 12 catches [this season] and five of them have been for touchdowns,” RB coach Jason Rech said. “He’s a 6-foot-6 guy who can really go up and get the football. He’s just a hard player to stop.”
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs’ offense has been far less formidable as a whole this season. Trailing 6-0 on Saturday, RB took the lead when quarterback Dylan Beketic (8-for-17, 105 yards) tossed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Huffhines with 40 seconds left in the first half. Running back Andy Suzuki added a 2-point conversion run to give RB an 8-6 lead at the break.
The second half was a completely different story as the host Rockets rattled off 24 unanswered points to take a commanding 30-8 lead. The Bulldogs missed several opportunities via a pair of Rich East fumbles coupled with several dropped passes and miscues offensively.
“When Rich East fumbled twice, we had guys right on the ball but they didn’t come up with it,” Rech said. “In the third quarter, we went to more of a passing game. We had some drops plus a costly penalty when we were in scoring position. We just can’t make these kinds of mistakes, only score 16 points, and expect to win against a good team like Rich East.”
The Bulldogs scored in the closing minutes when Beketic connected again with Huffhines on an 18-yard pass play. Tyler Floros busted into the end zone to make the final score 30-16.
Rich East (3-1) used a ball-control offense with 70 runs on 75 of its plays to wear down RB defensively. Brad Bednar led the Bulldogs with 12 tackles, followed by Bryce Bartlett (11 tackles) and Suzuki (10 tackles). Vince Sandrick added a fumble recovery.
“I thought our defense played pretty well,” Rech said. “We have up a few big plays, but we held them to about 3.5 or four yards per carry. Too many three-and-outs offensively put our defense on the field for extended periods.”
The Bulldogs turn their attention to Metro Suburban Conference play with Friday’s league opener at Ridgewood (7 p.m.).
“One of our top goals is to win conference,” Rech said. “Obviously, that goal is still out there for us, but we have to improve our offensive efficiency and scoring.”