River Ridge, which equaled its 2018 win total with a win last week, will look to win back-to-back games for the first time since early in the 2017 season when it travels to Chamblee on Friday.
The Knights' 43-0 win over Osborne was the first under new coach Mike Collins, who said the players and coaches enjoyed the moment.
“Waking up on Saturday with a win is a lot better than waking up with a loss,” he said. “I knew it would take patience, and I came here to enjoy the process.”
River Ridge (1-3) totaled 350 yards of offense against Osborne and was able to establish sophomore running back Amehre Morrison, who ended the game with 140 rushing yards and two touchdowns on only 11 carries.
Morrison is second in Cherokee County in rushing with 390 yards on the season, and Collins said last week’s game was probably a blueprint for how he would like his offense to run.
“We were able to spread the ball around last week with a bunch of different receivers and kids getting touches,” Collins said. “That’s always our goal. For Amehre, I think 11 to 15 carries with a few catches out of the backfield is right where we’d like him to be.”
River Ridge will face a Chamblee team on a 22-game losing streak. In three games this season, the Bulldogs have been outscored 124-13.
The Knights’ defense recorded 11 tackles for loss against Osborne and Collins said the defense needs to continue to focus on playing as a unit and not focus on individual performances.
One bright spot for River Ridge this season has been the play of pair of freshmen in quarterback Daniel Fichtner and wide receiver Jackson Head. Fichtner rushed for two touchdowns last week, while Head is tied with Morrison for the team lead in receptions with 13 and second on the team in receiving yards with 136.
The future seems bright for several River Ridge underclassmen.
“Obviously, Jackson is a special player, and Daniel has a unique tool set, too,” Collins said.
Collins said the home crowd and support his players received last week was impressive. For a program that has not had a winning season since 2011, the energy around River Ridge seems to be shifting.
The support will be beneficial for the Knights, who enter their last non-region game before a five-game stretch that starts with Region 6AAAAAA leader Dalton next week.
“Our kids are excited,” Collins said. “Finally getting a win probably got a little pressure off their back so to speak, but it’s a long season. We're not even halfway there yet. You can tell this community is really hungry for some success with their football team, and I was very pleased with the support we’ve had.”
Friday's game will also be a homecoming of sorts for Collins, who spent two years as Chamblee's coach from 2008-09, leading it to the state playoffs both years.