Off to an 0-2 start and facing the reality of three straight road games on tap, the Riverside-Brookfield football team isn’t interested in moral victories. The Bulldogs’ focus is to logically land the real wins that count in the standings.
Nevertheless, the Bulldogs have shown flashes of true progress as evidenced by their impressive start against Lemont on Friday. RB raced out to a two-touchdown lead before the Indians scored 44 unanswered points en route to a 44-20 victory.
The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard first when senior quarterback Jack VandeMerkt connected with junior wide receiver Matt Chapp on a 26-yard touchdown pass to put RB up 7-0. With just over five minutes left in the first quarter, VandeMerkt struck again throwing a 14-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Lewis Rogers, which extended the RB lead to 14-0. Suddenly, the possibility of an upset was brewing at Shuey Stadium.
Lemont (1-1), a state semifinalist in four of the past six seasons, responded to the Bulldogs’ early run with 44 unanswered points.
RB sophomore quarterback Ryan Swift threw a 25-yard touchdown pass Rogers late in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring at 44-20.
VandeMerkt (10-for-23, 152 yards passing) finished with two touchdowns and three interceptions on the night. Rogers had three receptions for 46 yards and two touchdowns, while junior running back Brian Kulaga racked up 44 yards on seven carries.
RB head coach Brendan Curtin saw some good things from his squad against a tough opponent.
“People have this perception that it’s a down year for Lemont, but they’re still a powerhouse team,” he said. “I was pleased with the way we came out of the gates and were able to execute the no-huddle offense, and that the defense was making plays.”