David Valencia

The Riverside-Brookfield High School football team started anew with practice Saturday morning. The Bulldogs had lost their showdown with top-ranked Class 5A power Kankakee, 48-6, Friday night and began the process of focusing on all they still can accomplish. That includes seeking a fourth consecutive state playoff berth and the program’s first eight-win regular season since 2017.

“We’re back, 8 a.m. so we’ll start working. Crete-Monee, that’s our next team [this Friday],” R-B senior linebacker/running back David Valencia said. 

“[Kankakee] played more physical than us. We came prepared. It was just, I don’t know. We had momentum. Then we didn’t. It was just rough.”

The Bulldogs (3-1) scored with 40 seconds left on a 12-yard TD pass from quarterback Diego Gutierrez to senior Tohma Tucker. By that time the Kays (4-0) owned a 42-0 lead with a running clock by virtue of a 40-point differential.

“[Kankakee is] very athletic all the way around. They’re very well coached. They’ve got a lot of playmakers all over the field and they executed tonight. We didn’t. That’s pretty much it,” RBHS coach Sam Styler said.

Tohma Tucker

“Obviously we’ve got a bit of soul-searching going into next week. There’s a whole lot of season left, but we’ve just got to change the mindset going into the rest of [it]. We have to have that winning mindset.”

Gutierrez was 10-for-21 passing for 99 yards. Tucker made five catches for 69 yards, including a 39-yarder to the 26 on the scoring drive. 

Valencia entered at running back and kept the drive alive with a 3-yard, fourth-and-two carry to the 15. Defensively, Valencia had an open-field tackle for loss in the first quarter after a quick out reception. 

Max Montalvo had a tackle for loss in the third quarter. Punter James Espino saved another TD in the final minute with a tackle at the 10 on the return.

Kankakee scored TDs on its first seven possessions and amassed 426 yards, 333 to lead 35-0 at halftime. The Kays scored on runs of 40, 8, 18 and 33 yards and passes of 3, 13 and 10 yards and had 14 plays covering 13 yards or more. They converted one third-and-11 and four third-and-7s. 

“The guys that were coming in at the end were playing their butts off,” Styler said. “[Overall] we just didn’t tackle well enough, just didn’t get to the ball well enough. Obviously we didn’t do all of the little things right. We had a lot of third-down situations and when you don’t win on third downs, it’s pretty difficult to win a football game.”