Riverview earns 1st victory of season over Wilkinsburg
The Riverview Raiders, led by senior quarterback Zach Hanus, earned their first victory of the season with a 19-12 win in their Homecoming game against the Wilkinsburg Tigers on Friday night at Riverside Park.
After forcing fullback Keir Barber to fumble late in the fourth quarter, the Tigers (2-3, 2-3) faced a first-and-10 from the Riverview 32 with just over two minutes remaining.
But Hanus, also a defensive back, made his third pivotal play of the game, jumping in front of quarterback Ryan Cox's pass for an interception, sealing the Riverview (1-4, 1-4) victory.
“This feels great,” Riverview coach Todd Massack said. “Wilkinsburg came back, and Wilkinsburg is a tough team. We were really impressed with everything we have seen from them, but I'm proud of the way our players hung in there.”
Hanus played a key role in building Riverview's lead, despite failing to complete either of his two pass attempts. He capped off two of the Raiders' drives with goal-line runs, one from 1 yard out and the other from 2, to help Riverview build a 19-6 lead entering the fourth quarter.
“Zach has really stepped up,” Massack said. “We moved him into the quarterback position and he's done a nice job with that. He's done a nice job with the leadership role. Defensively, he keeps getting better each week, and he keeps impressing us more and more.”
The Raiders started aggressively, squibbing the opening kick, which ultimately had the same effect as an onside kick. Sophomore wide receiver Jesse Demko pounced on the loose ball, giving Riverview the ball on the Tigers' 33. Barber wasted no time finding the endzone, busting through the middle of Wilkinsburg's defensive line and cutting through its secondary for a 33-yard touchdown to give the Raiders a 6-0 lead 12 seconds into the game.
Wilkinsburg struggled to contain Barber in the first half, as he ran for 104 yards on 10 carries. He was slowed a bit in the second half, battling cramps through the third quarter, but still finished with 144 yards on 21 carries.
Cox was instrumental in leading the Tigers back from two 12-point deficits, connecting with wide receiver Desmond Stolich a 4-yard touchdown in the third quarter and completing a 21-yard pass to Andre Richardson on their fourth-quarter touchdown drive.
Wilkinsburg coach Mike Fulmore said he was pleased with his team's second-half effort.
“We just need to continue to work on those small things that will make us a better ball team,” Fulmore said. “Big plays aren't big plays, they're little things done right.”
Wes Crosby is a freelance writer.