The Bulldogs started their brief tenure in the Southland Conference with a dominating performance walloping Bloom 41-0 Friday night at the Martin Kennelly Athletic Complex.
The Riverside Brookfield High School football team is playing in the Southland Conference just this one season. Next year, the Bulldogs will join the Upstate 8 conference.
“New conference, we didn’t really know what we were expecting from this other team but we did it,” said speedy wide receiver Tohma Tucker, who caught a touchdown pass for the second straight game. “We blew them out, 41-0 is good. It’s going to put us up there.”
Quarterback Diego Gutierrez had another outstanding game, throwing two touchdowns and running two more.
The prettiest score was Gutierrez’s perfect strike to Tucker for a 37-yard touchdown pass that put the Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0) ahead 27-0 with 2:09 left in the first half. Tucker ran a post pattern and was double covered, but Gutierrez put the ball in the perfect spot as Tucker caught it without breaking stride and raced to the end zone.
“I saw the double coverage and I don’t know how to explain it, like the ball just landed in my hands. Perfect pass by Diego,” Tucker said. “It was executed very well. I got the chills when I caught that. Felt amazing.”
On an earlier drive, when facing a fourth and 20 from the Bloom 30-yard line, Gutierrez scrambled and hit Tucker on an improvised route for a 30-yard completion to the 1-yard line.
“Me and him got that connection now where’s he’s confident I’m going to catch it,” Tucker said.
Gutierrez scored on a quarterback run on the next play to put the Bulldogs ahead 20-0 with 4:09 left in the second.
Gutierrez (10 for 15 passing for 198 yards) put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard with a 27-run for a touchdown to cap the first drive of the game as the Bulldogs marched 63 yards in just seven plays to start the game.
David Valencia scored on a 2-yard run early in the second quarter to put the Bulldogs up 14-0. The Bulldogs’ two, second-half touchdowns came on an 8-yard pass from Gutierrez to tight end Luke Kumskis in the second quarter. Sophomore running back Jacob Retana closed out the scoring by bolting 6 yards to the end zone in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs offense is clicking with Gutierrez having a breakout season so far. They have scored 118 points in their three games this season.
Bloom (1-2, 0-1) moved the ball pretty well much of the night amassing 339 yards of total offense but could not score as the Bulldog defense came up with big plays when they had to. After Gutierrez’s touchdown on the first drive of the game the Blazing Trojans put together a methodical drive and marching 61 yards in 11 plays to set up a first and goal at the Bulldogs nine yard line as the Blazing Trojans looked to even the score. But then the Bulldogs defense rose up, stopping running back Sean Goodwin for a one yard gain, sacking quarterback Terrion White for a four yard loss and forcing two incompletions to turn Bloom away on what proved to be their best scoring chance of the night.
The Bulldogs face what figures to be their toughest test of the season next week when they travel to Kankakee for their first road game of the season.
Kankakee (3-0) is ranked ninth in the Chicago area by the Chicago Sun-Times. They demolished Thornridge 81-0 on Friday.
“We know that they’ve got a lot of talent over there, we know they they’ve got all the rankings and everything but our goal always is just to focus on the week that we’ve got,” Styler said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re dialed up for it and be ready to rock and roll for it.”
After Kankakee, the Bulldogs travel to Crete Monee (1-2), another team that qualified for the state playoffs last year.