Riverview routs Wilkinsburg for 2nd straight win
The new Hulton Bridge opened next to Riverview High School earlier this week.
And the Raiders hope they can soon start bridging the gap between themselves and the traditional Eastern Conference powers.
Riverview will return its entire offensive backfield in 2016, including junior running back Nasan Tibbens, who had another spectacular day Saturday. Tibbens rushed for 180 yards and four touchdowns and the Raiders defense turned four Wilkinsburg takeaways into touchdowns in a 40-6 rout of the Tigers.
Tibbens had 222 rushing yards against Leechburg last weekend.
“He started working really hard a few weeks ago,” Riverview coach Jason Cappa said. “Something clicked, and he started to learn the game speed he needs to know on practice days. He started to get that, and you see how it translates here on the field.
Tibbens also returned the game's opening kickoff 37 yards and added a 38-yard reception before the starters were pulled when the Raiders went scored two touchdowns in a 22-second span in the third quarter.
Riverview, which will miss the WPIAL playoffs for the eighth consecutive season, is 3-5 overall, 2-5 in conference play.
“We played a full, complete game,” Cappa said. “We tried to minimize our mistakes that we had in the past.”
Two interceptions by senior Slayne Slebrich, a fumble recovery by Paul Knapp and a 55-yard interception return by Jesse Demko propelled the Raiders.
“Our coaches help me read the quarterback,” Slebrich said. “We've been moving the ball up and down the field pretty well over the past couple of weeks, and our defense is playing better.”
The Raiders defeated Leechburg last week and lost to Serra Catholic a week earlier on a last-second field goal.
Slebrich's first interception set up an 18-yard run by Tibbens, who later scored on runs of 7, 60 and 30 yards to give Riverview a 26-0 advantage with 10:24 left in the third quarter.
Saturday marked the final home game for Slebrich.
“It's upsetting, I'm really going to miss football,” he said. “But let's go to Springdale and beat them.”
It was another tough day for Wilkinsburg.
One lineman didn't show for the game, so coach Mike Fulmore and his staff had to make adjustments on the bus ride to Oakmont. Then lineman Dimitrius Gray, soon after he recovered a Raiders fumble, injured his knee and had to leave the game.
Wilkinsburg (0-8, 0-7) ended the game with 15 players dressed.
The fate of the high school reportedly will be decided Tuesday as the school board votes on a measure that would close the school and send students — on a tuition basis — to nearby Westinghouse.
The move would end more than 110 years of Wilkinsburg football, which hosts Serra Catholic on Saturday at historic Graham Field.
Dremer Everette was a bright spot for the Tigers, passing for 98 yards.
“Mike Fulmore does a nice job at Wilkinsburg, despite the numbers,” Cappa said. “I don't know what's going to happen with them, but I have a long history with Wilkinsburg in this conference.”
George Guido is a freelance writer.