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High school football: Riverbend knocks Mountain View from ranks of the unbeaten
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High school football: Riverbend knocks Mountain View from ranks of the unbeaten

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Their progress was slow, but undeniable. 

 After Riverbend chiseled away at the Mountain View defense for the better part of three hours on Friday night, each run revealing microscopic cracks in the Wildcats’ unblemished facade, Bears senior Aiden Fisher marveled at just how far the Bears had come.

 Four years ago, Fisher was a freshman on a Riverbend team that floundered to a 1–9 finish. The following year, Nathan Yates was hired as head coach and centered his rebuild around a collection of precocious sophomores. 

 “They went through the lumps, they took the beatings and they kept coming back and getting better,” Yates said. 

 That group’s improvement had never been more evident than on senior night at Riverbend. 

 Fisher rushed for a touchdown and threw for another, and fellow senior Cade Mattive returned a fumble 34 yards for a score as the Bears knocked Mountain View from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 28–6 victory. 

 The result re-frames the Region 5D playoff picture, with Riverbend moving up to the No. 4 seed and hosting Woodgrove in a first-round contest next weekend. If Woodbridge defeats Gar-Field on Saturday, Mountain View drops to the No. 3 seed. Otherwise, the Wildcats (9–1) sit pat at No. 2 behind unbeaten Stone Bridge.

 Defenses thoroughly dominated a scoreless first quarter, leading to an exchange of punts and turnovers on downs. 

 “We knew we were going to be in for a dogfight,” Yates said. “Every play counted.”

 After a tantalizing sequence that saw Fisher extend for the pylon at the conclusion of a long fourth-down run only to be ruled down at the 1-yard line, Riverbend incurred a chop block penalty and ultimately missed a 35-yard field goal attempt. 

 Finally, with 3:38 left in the first half, the Bears found the end zone. Sophomore quarterback Tanner Triplett lofted a pinpoint pass to tight end Mathias Barnwell along the sideline, and the Penn State recruit did the rest, tracking the ball over his shoulder and discarding a defender with a juke at the 5-yard line en route to a 38-yard touchdown reception. 

 Meanwhile Mountain View’s offense, which had bedeviled Fredericksburg-area defenses all season long, struggled to find any traction. Jackson Sigler tossed a 9-yard touchdown to Jaiden Fair for the Wildcats’ lone score. 

 “Our goal was a shutout,” said a mildly disappointed Fisher. “We believe we’re one of the best, if not the best defenses in the state, so we’re going to keep coming that way.”

 Leading just 7–0 at halftime, Riverbend got a break when its second-half squib kick ricocheted off the hands of a Wildcat returner. Four plays after the turnover, Fisher feigned a QB draw before lobbing a jump pass to Jayden Smith, who was wide open in the back of the end zone. 

Mattive scooped up a botched snap on Mountain View's next possession, and the Wildcats were suddenly staring at a three-score deficit they'd prove unable to overcome. 

“We haven’t been down that road this year,” Mountain View coach Lou Sorrentino said. “But I think our kids realize that everybody from this point on is going to be good.”

Mountain View00606
Riverbend  0  7  14  7  —  28
 Second Quarter
Rb—Mathias Barnwell 38 pass from Tanner Triplett (Logan Eastman kick).
Third Quarter
Rb—Jayden SMith 7 pass from Aiden Fisher (Eastman kick).
Rb—Cade Mattive 34 fumble return (Eastman kick).
MV—Jaiden Fair 9 pass from Jackson Sigler (kick blocked).
Fourth Quarter
Rb—Fisher 1 run (Eastman kick).
TEAM STATISTICS
 MVRb
First downs13    24
Rushes-yards         19-28        30-181
Passing yards160134
Comp-Att-Int  14-24-114-25-0
Punts-avg.2-28.02-25.0
Fumbles-lost2-11-1
Penalties-yards6-463-40
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING: Mountain View—Ike Daniels 7-37; Tyler Perry 4-(-3); Jackson SIgler 4-(-9); Hunter Holmquist 3-3. Riverbend—Aiden Fisher 16-117, TD; Latavien Dyles 9-48; MarcAnthony Parker 2-17; Devin Washington 1-0.
PASSING: Mountain View—Jackson Sigler 8-15, 94, TD; Holmquist 6-9-1, 66. Riverbend—Tanner Triplett 13-23, 127, TD; Aiden Fisher 1-2, 7, TD.
RECEIVING: Mountain View—Ike Daniels 5-22; Jordan Jackson 4-67; Jaiden Fair 2-29, TD; Collin Carroll 1-37; Javon Corbin 1-12. Riverbend—EJ Wilborne 4-24; Mathias Barnwell 4-66, TD; MarcAnthony Parker 2-16; Devin Washington 3-10; Jayden Smith 1-18, TD.

Joey LoMonaco: 540/368-5045

jlomonaco@freelancestar.com

@joeylomonaco

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