WOODSTOCK - After an offseason of anticipation, it did not take Etowah very long to set the tone for 2019.
After the Eagles’ defense held River Ridge to a three-and-out on its first possession, sophomore running back Remington Adams took the ball down the left sideline on Etowah’s first offensive snap for a 66-yard touchdown run.
The extra point made it 7-0, and the Eagles won going away in the second half, 37-10, Friday night at River Ridge.
Adams scored again on his first touch of the second half, this time on an 89-yard kickoff return to open the third quarter. Both plays set a tone for Etowah (1-0), which River Ridge (0-1) could not seem to slow down.
“That’s what we try to do, score on every play,” Adams said. “I did it on those plays tonight, and I guess that’s the expectation now.”
Despite accruing 15 penalties for 165 yards throughout the game, Etowah outgained River Ridge 343-268 in total offense. Etowah’s senior quarterback, Dalton Miller, was efficient, finishing 15-for-22 for 167 yards and two touchdowns in the air, while rushing five times for 23 yards and one touchdown.
“It’s a good way to start the season, but we need to keep carrying this momentum on after tonight,” Miller said. “We were shooting ourselves in the foot all game, but I think we started to turn it on there in the second half.”
River Ridge held it close in the first half, trailing 14-10 entering halftime.
The Knights looked balanced in the first two quarters, with senior quarterback Chase Begin connecting on seven of his first 11 pass attempts. Sophomore running back Amehre Morrison was held in check early on, but he burst free up the middle for a 41-yard touchdown with less than 2 minutes until halftime.
The Knights had multiple sustained drives in the first half, but were unable to convert on two short field goal attempts when both were blocked by the oncoming Etowah defenders.
Etowah pulled away in the final two quarters, but coach Dave Svehla said his team could still improve on Friday’s performance.
“There were some things tonight that were really good, but there were some things tonight that we can get better at, too,” Svehla said. “Penalties are part of the game, but we had some penalties that are definitely preventable. Penalties that were poor judgement on our part.”
Morrison finished with 17 carries for 89 yards one touchdown, while also catching five passes for 46 yards. The Etowah defense held River Ridge to two first downs and 75 total yards in the second half, and Svehla said one of the positives of the game was the Eagles adjustments on defense.
“They’re running back (Morrison) is good. I mean, he’s really good,” Svehla said. “I thought coach (Mike) Collins did a good job of using him and finding different ways to get him the ball. They got the edge on us a little in the first half and I thought our defensive coordinator and defensive staff did an excellent job of making adjustments at halftime to keep him off the edge.
Etowah will travel to North Cobb next Friday, while River Ridge will be on a bye next week.