When Brendan Curtin was hired as the Riverside-Brookfield High School head football coach in 2012, games like Friday’s 42-6 rout of Walther Christian Academy during homecoming weekend was the kind of atmosphere he envisioned around the program. After two arduous seasons in which the Bulldogs went 3-15 under Curtin, the team is off to a promising 2-2 start this fall.
Not only did the Bulldogs score on five of six possessions in the first half en route to a 42-0 lead against Walther Christian Academy, but they provided an entertaining, share the scoring brand of football in front of a huge crowd at Shuey Stadium.
“It was a complete team effort,” Curtin said. “We were able to produce a defensive score and play well on special teams. We also found a rhythm early with our offense.
“I think it’s the coach in me, but I knew this kind of game would come for us. I’m just glad that the players are able to experience it. The kids who have bought in and worked so hard within our program, they deserve some of the rewards that come with hard work and dedication. I’m really happy for our coaching staff as well.”
Senior Matt Chapp started the scoring barrage against the Broncos when he raced off the left side and down the sideline for a 27-yard touchdown run at the 4:50 mark of the first quarter. He added a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter on a 39-yard reception and a 12-yard run to finish as the Bulldogs’ scoring leader on the night. The versatile Chapp rushed for 70 yards on four carries and caught three passes for 46 yards.
“Any time Matt touches the ball he has a chance to take it to the house,” Curtin said. “He’s just a joy to watch. We can put him in slot, split or tail on offense. He’s just a very versatile and talented football player.”
Junior quarterback Ryan Swift (7-for-11, 96 yards, 3 TDs) also threw a pair of 14-yard touchdown passes to tight end Kyle Tracy and Antone Dixon, respectively, in the first half. The defense even pitched in on the scoreboard when free safety Adolfo Linares scooped up a Walther Christian Academy fumble and raced 30 yards into the end zone to put RBHS up midway through the first quarter.
In the second half, the Bulldogs (2-2) played their reserves who battled the Broncos’ first-string almost to a draw. Walther Christian Academy running back Jaylen Pugh busted into the end zone from two yards out with 5:47 remaining in the game to make the score 42-6.
Defensively, the Bulldogs employed a swarming defensive approach that caused multiple turnovers by Walther Christian Academy.
“We were just focused on playing hard, physical football,” RBHS linebacker David Pribyl-Pierdinock said. “We knew we had to contain the outside. Our outside linebackers did a great job of containment and we filled well on the inside. We had good pass coverage, too. The game plan was pretty simple and it worked.”
Jordan Petronella, Mike McCabe, Zach Paisker, Dan Magee, Zach Witken and Jimmy Kunkel also led a solid group effort on defense.
In two home games this season, RBHS has outscored its opponents 64-6.
“Our home crowd gets us pumped up,” Chapp said. “When we hear that RB fight song it just pumps through your veins and you know it’s time to play ball.”
Conversely on the road, the Bulldogs are 0-2 and have been outscored 82-13.
RBHS will have a chance to pick up its first win away from Shuey Stadium on Saturday, Sep. 27, when the Bulldogs visit Wheaton Academy. Kickoff is 1 p.m.
“I think it’s a mindset,” Curtin said about road games. “No matter what gridiron you’re playing on, you have to be ready and put yourself in the moment. I think we might have learned that lesson the hard way [road game at St. Edward, 33-7 loss), but I think we’re going to be better prepared to go on the road the next few weeks and have a more of a professional demeanor.”