River Ridge football handles Pecatonica/Argyle 48-12

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Andrew Nies (21) blocks the Pec/Argyle defender for teammate Drake Barrineau (18). (Natalie Dillon/The Monroe Times)

Ty Adrian (12) and Drake Barrineau (18) attempt to intercept a pass. (Natalie Dillon/The Monroe Times)

By A.J. Gates


BLANCHARDVILLE – High school football teams that are accustomed to playing under the Friday night lights often times start out slow when scheduled to play the occasional Saturday afternoon game.

That wasn’t the case for coach Wade Winkers and his River Ridge football squad, who handed host Pecatonica/Argyle a 48-12 loss last Saturday in their Six Rivers conference opener.

The Timberwolves, who are now 4-1 on the season, join Potosi/Cassville and Black Hawk/Warren as the only teams off to a 1-0 start in league action.

“It’s never ideal to play on a Saturday,” coach Winkers said. “I’m a traditionalist and like to play on Friday nights and keep the routines the same. We talked about it enough last week that we needed to start fast and that it was going to be important for us to have a good start.”

“I think we played better than we did last week, but I don’t know if we’re really there yet,” Winkers added. “Obviously Pecatonica/Argyle is in a little bit of a rebuilding stage, which is advantageous for us because we have a little more consistency and experience in a lot of places. It’s good to show that we can put points up and start fast, which is something we haven’t done, so I guess that shows growth.”

The Timberwolves did indeed get off to a fast start on Saturday, which according to coach Winkers was a point of emphasis during their week-long preparation. In their first four games this season, the River Ridge offense had not gained a single first down on their opening possession.

“That was a major point of emphasis this week to get some yardage early,” Winkers said. “Once you get some rhythm, things can start to roll for you in the right direction.”

The Timberwolves needed just 51 seconds to score their first of six touchdowns in the first half, getting a 10-yard touchdown run from Drake Barrineau and a two-point conversion run from Andrew Nies.

The River Ridge offense went on to score two more touchdowns in the first quarter, followed by three in the second to take a commanding 41-6 lead into the half.

Able to gain yardage on the ground at a 7.1-yard average, the Timberwolves were also able to work on their passing attack, gaining 120 yards through the air and scoring two touchdowns.

“We were able to get to the edge with the run game and with the passing game, running intermediate and short routes and making something happen, which is something we’ve been struggling to do consistently. That was nice to see,” Winkers said.

“Brandon (Davis) made some good throws and the receivers made some nice catches and blocked well in space. All the things you want them to do.”

On the ground, River Ridge rushed for 269 yards and four touchdowns on 38 attempts.

Junior fullback Andrew Nies led the charge with 107 yards on 13 carries, followed by sophomore quarterback Brandon Davis, who chipped in 62 yards on seven attempts.

Ty Adrian and Brady Bunge each found the end zone, Adrian from 14 yards out and Bunge from seven.

Davis scored one rushing touchdown from four yards out and also caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Brady Bunge on a reverse pass on fourth-and-long.

Davis completed 7-of-10 passing attempts for one touchdown, a 19-yard strike to Carter Copsey late in the second quarter.

Barrineau led the River Ridge receiving corps. with two receptions for 31 yards, while Bunge and Copsey each had two receptions for 26 yards.

Defensively, the Timberwolves held the Viking to 10 yards rushing on 11 attempts, while giving up 189 yards passing on 11-of-28 passing attempts.

Brock Bunge led the River Ridge defense with five tackles, followed closely by Reese Drew with four. Carter Copsey had two interceptions on the day, while Brandon Davis and Conner Hoeper each had one sack.

The Timberwolves’ next opponent is Black Hawk/Warren (1-0, 5-0) who is coming off a 32-20 conference win over Southwestern/East Dubuque. It is Homecoming week for the Timberwolves.

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