The Riverside-Brookfield football team had its Homecoming game spoiled on Friday night as Nazareth swept into town and handed the Bulldogs a 44-6 loss.
But RB hosts an even more intriguing homecoming of sorts this week when former longtime RB head coach Otto Zeman returns to Shuey Stadium as the current offensive coordinator for Fenton.
“Obviously it’s a big game,” RB coach Jason Rech said of the showdown against Fenton. “Some of our kids played for Otto. I imagine it will be a bit bittersweet for him coming back, but this game is not about me vs. Otto or our coaching staff vs. the Fenton coaches. Our rallying cry is we want to win our last game, especially for our seniors.”
Against highly regarded Nazareth, the Bulldogs had no such luck. The aptly-named Roadrunners broke loose early and often when quarterback Sam Poulous threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Carl Jackson, Kevin Curtin scored on a 1-yard run, and Aeneas White returned an RB fumble 60 yards to give his team a 20-0 lead after one quarter.
“We wanted to control the clock offensively because Nazareth is so explosive,” Rech said. “Our starters moved the ball a little bit in the first quarter, but we couldn’t sustain any drives.”
Nazareth (7-1) kept scoring in the second quarter as kicker Matt Ramsey made a 27-yard field goal, Josh Moore ran 34 yards into the end zone and Poulos added a 1-yard touchdown plunge to build a 37-0 advantage by halftime.
RB (2-6) got on the scoreboard when quarterback Dylan Beketic threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Joe Odeh midway through the third quarter. Bryce Bartlett led the Bulldogs in rushing with 59 yards on eight carries. Andy Suzuki paced the defense with nine tackles.
The Bulldogs host Fenton on Friday (7 p.m.). In addition to the highly anticipated return of Zeman, the Bison (6-2, 1-2) bring some pretty talented football players to town as well. Running back/wideout Alex Geneva is one of the most versatile scoring threats in the conference, while quarterback Sean Havlovic has performed well in Zeman’s pass-oriented attack. Head coach Mark Kos guided the Bison to a 5-0 start this season, securing a midseason playoff berth.
Taking over the RB football head coach position in 1982, Zeman amassed a 162-114 career record, highlighted by a pair of remarkable seasons in 2000 and 2001 when the Bulldogs won 22 of 24 games.
In June of 2010, Rech and Art Ostrow became the Bulldogs’ new head football coach and athletic director, respectively, both positions previously held by Zeman.