Riverside-Brookfield High School senior Ryan Swift is a three-year varsity starter at quarterback. He’s also a very good athlete who is also making a difference at linebacker for the Bulldogs this season. His fumble recovery set up the team’s first TD in a 21-7 win over St. Edward on Friday night.
Knotted in a scoreless tie with the Green Wave at the end of the first quarter, the Bulldogs scored first on a couple of key plays by Swift. After he scooped up the aforementioned fumble to regain possession for RBHS, Swift (19-for-33, 188 yards) threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to running back John Mieczkowski to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead with 10:38 left in the second quarter.
“Ryan is a throwback player,” RBHS coach Brendan Curtin said. “Some people raise their eyebrows when they hear that our quarterback is a starting linebacker. He’s just a great athlete and leader. Offensively, he’s been very efficient with his passing and he can run the ball.”
RBHS extended the lead to 14-0 in the third quarter when Swift led an 11-play, 95-yard scoring drive. Running back David Pribyl-Pierdinock finished off the drive on a 5-yard TD run.
After St. Edward cut the deficit to 14-7 on a scoring run by Patrick Brown, RBHS wide receiver Ja’Mari Wise closed out the scoring on a 29-yard sweep run midway through the fourth quarter.
RBHS won the battle along the offensive line and ran the ball well using multiple running backs. Senior wide receiver Dean Zigulich continued his high level of play with seven catches for 73 yards.
RBHS held St. Edward star running back Dwayne Allen in check before he left the game with a right ankle injury in the third quarter. Allen, who ran for over 1,500 yards last year and has scored nine TDs this season, rushed 17 times for 40 yards against the Bulldogs.
In fact, RBHS contained the entire St. Edward offensive attack which entered the Metro Suburban Conference crossover matchup averaging 46 points. The Green Wave finished with 115 yards of total offense.
“Our defense has been playing well all season and they took another big step in the right direction,” Curtin said. “They’re playing really well right now.”
Junior defensive end Michael Wilson recorded seven tackles and two sacks. Jake Campbell (2 tackles for loss, sack) and Sam Falk (4.5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss) also contributed RBHS.
The Bulldogs also snapped the Green Wave’s 11-game regular season winning streak.
“We’re in the position we want to be in at this point of the season which is exciting,” Curtin said, “We talk with the kids each week about building off momentum and not getting complacent. They have responded well to that message. We’re getting better each week which is great but we still have a long way to go.”
RBHS travels to Melrose Park on Saturday to face Walther Christian. Kickoff is 1 p.m.