Before Marquees Foster went to bed on Sunday night, he checked the weather forecast. The Riverbend senior hesitated when he saw that there was a possibility of snow, then decided to watch some more game film regardless.
“I didn’t know if we were going to play, but I was still going to be locked in and be on my stuff,” he said.
Smart decision. The icy weather held off, and Foster put the Mountain View defense on skates for a pair of touchdowns (one rushing and one receiving) in the Bears’ 18–13 season opening victory on Monday night in Stafford.
Second-year Riverbend head coach Nathan Yates found little to fault in the play of his eager defensive unit, which held the Wildcats to a paltry 54 passing yards and recorded an interception.
“It’s been a long time since they had the opportunity to tackle, to hit someone in a different jersey, and they were excited to do so,” Yates said.
The Bears (1–0) struck when quarterback Aiden Fisher escaped the pocket right and hit Foster on the move with 5:04 left in the second quarter. The 13-yard touchdown was the only score by either team during the first half.
Mountain View rotated quarterbacks, with junior Hunter Holmquist and senior AZ Hernandez each throwing for a touchdown. But the true catalyst of the Wildcats offense was Ike Daniels. The sophomore running back galloped for 107 yards on 16 carries.
“I’m disappointed now, but we’ll go back and find out who our guys are and what our schemes are and try to get better,” said longtime Wildcats coach Lou Sorrentino, who’s coaching from the press box this season due to health concerns during the pandemic.
Trailing for much of the final quarter, the Bears stuck to their run-heavy game plan. Foster left a pack of Wildcats in his wake on a dazzling 35-yard touchdown run that pulled Riverbend within 13-12 with nine minutes to play.
“I’ve always been an athlete,” Foster said of his jukes. “In the game of football, feet can take you places.”
After fumbling away a possession that led to a Mountain View’s second touchdown, Fisher rebounded to lead Riverbend on a game-winning drive that spanned 88 yards and ate up 6:22. With 43 seconds left, he scrambled inside the right pylon from 10 yards out to put the Bears ahead 18-13.
“He’s a tough kid, a competitor, and he definitely wanted to make up for that mistake,” Yates said of Fisher. “But that stuff is going to happen… I really had no doubt putting the ball back in his hands.”
Yates can’t say the same for his outlook on a coronavirus-shortened season. It had been more than 430 days since Riverbend last took the field, and the reality of high school football’s return was hard to conceptualize until the shrill of the opening whistle.
“I really felt like this day wasn’t going to happen,” Yates said. “It was a surreal moment at the opening kickoff. The way our kids kept fighting, it’s an amazing feeling for our program.”
On Saturday, Mountain View will visit North Stafford and Riverbend will host Colonial Forge.
R—Marquees Foster 13 pass from Aiden Fisher (kick failed).
MV—Collin Carroll 10 pass from AZ Hernandez (kick blocked).
MV—Ashton Barb 5 pass from Hunter Holmquist (Patrick Carroll kick).
R—Foster 35 run (pass failed).
R—Fisher 9 run (pass failed).
RUSHING: Riverbend—Jalen Gilmore 15-41; Aiden Fisher 6-27, TD; Marquees Foster 3-45, TD; Devin Washington 3-27; Latavien Dyles 1-62; Dante Anderson 2-6. Mountain View—Ike Daniels 16-107; Jaiden Fair 2-1; Brendan Robinson 1-1; Tyler Perry 1-(-1); Hunter Holmquist 1-(-4).
PASSING: Riverbend—Fisher 10-14-1, 120 yards, TD. Mountain View-AZ Hernandez 3-11-1, 18 yards, TD; Holmquist 5-12-0, 34 yards, TD.
RECEIVING: Riverbend—EJ Wilborne 4-62; Foster 3-35, TD; Mathias Barnwell 2-22; Washington 1-1. Mountain View—Amari Walker 3-23; Collin Carroll 2-22, TD; Bishop Jones-Fowler 1-7; Barb 1-5, TD; Daniels 1-5.
Joey LoMonaco: 540/368-5045