Updated Oct. 9, 2012 – 10:45 a.m.

As a former Riverside-Brookfield football player, first-year head coach Brendan Curtin knows how special it is to play your final home game at Shuey Stadium. The current crop of Bulldogs seniors celebrated that experience with a 23-7 Homecoming victory over Elmwood Park on Friday night.

“We wanted to go out with a bang and play strong,” senior wide receiver/defensive back Mitch Malloy said. “A lot of us have been playing on this field since sixth grade so this is home for us. Some people doubted us after our slow start, but we know we’re capable of playing good football.”

The Bulldogs (2-5, 2-1 Metro Suburban Conference) certainly came ready to play against the upstart Tigers (5-2, 1-1), who entered the game on a five-game winning streak. RB harassed Elmwood Park quarterback Patrick McNulty with a relentless pressure that produced three turnovers and six sacks.

Suddenly, the Bulldogs are tied with Glenbard South at 2-1 for first place in conference.

After the Tigers took a 7-0 lead on McNulty’s 16-yard touchdown pass to David Benavidez in the first quarter, RB seized momentum the rest of the way with 23 unanswered points.

Joe Urbanski started the scoring spree on a 13-yard touchdown run to even the game 7-7 early in the second quarter. Malloy intercepted McNulty to set up the score. Later in the second quarter, Urbanski and Malloy reversed roles as the former picked off another McNulty toss, setting the stage for Malloy’s 7-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Jack VandeMerkt. Urbanski scored on another touchdown run in the fourth quarter and defensive lineman Jason Straka chipped in a safety for the Bulldogs.

“We fumbled the ball too many times and consequently we got our butts kicked by Glenbard South [44-0 loss in Week 6],” Curtin said. “Tonight, we caused three takeaways and took much better care of the football ourselves. I think the defense took a big step in establishing an identity, not so much schematically but just by playing with a stronger will.”

On Saturday morning, the football players and other RB athletes helped out at the First Annual 5K Bulldog River Run, a fundraiser for RB sports.

“The whole community has been great this week,” Malloy said. “We had a great pep rally, big crowd at the [Elmwood Park] game and the now the 5K run. People have been coming up to us at the race and telling us congratulations on the win, which means a lot.”

Curtin will certainly feel some emotions next weekend as he leads the Bulldogs back to Nazareth, his former coaching gig as an offensive coordinator. Despite a disappointing record due to injuries and a brutal schedule, the Roadrunners are loaded
with talent.

“There really aren’t a lot of weak spots, if any, on that football team,” Curtin said about Nazareth. “It’s a unique situation with me going back to a place that I coached for so long. I have a lot of friends over there. Our focus is on having a good week of practice in order to play well and win.”

RB visits Nazareth on Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.