Everything went right for the Riverside-Brookfield High School football team Friday night except the action on the field. Visiting Immaculate Conception pulled out a 15-7 win over the previously unbeaten Bulldogs.
RBHS celebrated Homecoming with the unveiling of its new stadium, the Kennelly Athletic Complex, before a large home crowd. District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis led the dedication ceremony before kickoff and the Homecoming Court was recognized at halftime. New and improved amenities like the concession area, press box, bleachers and other aspects of the stadium also were on display.
“I’m just excited about tonight. The Kennelly family was very generous in helping us out with this project,” Dr. Skinkis said. “Academics and athletics go hand in hand. I think the lessons that the kids learn in the classroom and on the field can co-mingle.
“It’s great we have a facility (Kennelly Athletic Complex) that our PE classes, soccer teams, track and field teams, football team, marching band cheerleaders and other groups can use and enjoy. It’s really a multi-purpose facility. The timing is perfect, too.”
Amid all the festivities, the Bulldogs (5-1, 1-1 Metro Suburban West) joined in the fun with an 11-play, 66-yard scoring drive on their first possession. Senior quarterback Ryan Swift capped it off on a 1-yard sneak into the end zone at 6:29 of the first quarter to put RBHS up 7-0. Swift rushed five times for 27 yards and also threw a 25-yard pass to senior wide receiver Dean Zigulich during the impressive series.
“I was pleased the way we started the game offensively and our ability to limit IC’s Jordan Rowell,” RBHS coach Brendan Curtin said. “I was disappointed in our ability to take care of the football as well as our ability to overcome poor field position throughout the game.”
Swift struggled the rest of the game, however, finishing 12 of 29 on pass attempts for 117 yards and three interceptions. He had 19 rushes for 47 yards and was sacked four times. RBHS ran 35 times for 82 yards and had five turnovers.
Zigulich (8 catches, 89 yards) was about the only bright spot in the Bulldogs’ stalled offense. After their opening drive, the Bulldogs were shut out by the Knights (5-1, 2-0).
Immaculate Conception cornerback Jose Rodriquez picked off the first of Swift’s interceptions at midfield late in the first quarter. Eight plays later, the Knights were inside the RBHS 5-yard line only to be denied by points due to consecutive stops by defensive lineman Frank Urbanski and linebacker David Pribyl Pierdinock.
After holding the Bulldogs to a three-and-out deep in their own territory, Immaculate Conception regained possession at the RBHS 22. Sophomore quarterback Luke Ricobene scrambled out of the pocket to find running back Jordan Rowell on a 22-yard pass play which put the Knights on the board with 9:43 left until halftime. The Ricobene-Rowell combination struck again on a pass play to convert the two-point attempt which gave IC an 8-7 lead.
On their next possession, the Knights moved the ball 66 yards on 13 yards to the RBHS 1. On a fourth-and-1, Pribyl Pierdinock kept IC out of the end zone for a second time when he stuffed Rowell at the line of scrimmage.
Midway through the third quarter, Ricobene tossed an 8-yard TD pass to Matt Sutton to extend the Knights’ advantage to 15-7.
With 3:42 remaining in the fourth quarter, RBHS had two scoring opportunities deep inside IC territory but Sutton picked off two consecutive Swift passes to secure the victory for the Knights. Sandwiched in between Swift’s throwing miscues was an IC fumble. The teams combined for three turnovers in a 10-second span.
RBHS travels to Bensenville to take on host Fenton on Friday (Oct. 9). Kickoff is 7:15 p.m.
“Fenton is a solid football team,” Curtin said. “Their record is not indicative of the type of team they are at this point of the season. The Bison are typically a physical football team that prides themselves on running the ball and stopping the run. We look forward to getting back to practice and preparing for another road trip this Friday night.”