Game: Centennial (0-5, 0-3) at River Ridge (6-0, 3-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: First meeting
All-time series: First meeting
Prediction: River Ridge 28, Centennial 7
Two teams on the opposite side of the Region 7AAAAAA standings will meet for the first time this week.
Centennial (0-5, 0-3) will travel to River Ridge (6-0, 3-0) this Friday but despite the disparity in records, River Ridge coach Mike Collins said he’s expecting another hard-fought battle this week at home.
“One thing about Sean (O’Sullivan) is you know he’s going to have a well-coached football team,” Collins said. “They had a few quarantine issues early but we expect them to come in fully loaded against us.”
River Ridge beat Creekview 20-17 in overtime last Friday. It was the third win over an in-county program this season. The Knights’ junior running back Amehre Morrison, who entered the game as the leading rusher in Class AAAAAA, was held under 100 yards rushing but still managed to score twice with his second touchdown proving to be the game-winner.
Quarterback Carson Lathem had several crucial completions in the fourth quarter against Creekview with Andrew Bingham and Riley Caines serving as the primary recipients. Defensively, River Ridge continues to be led by a collection of players on all three levels. Junior defensive lineman Brian Bradley has wreaked havoc along the front while senior safety Scotty Rutherford leads the team in tackles. Rutherford has also served well in the kicking game, quietly becoming one of the most reliable specialists in the county.
Centennial has been shut out in two of its last three games and has not won a game since November 2, 2018. Centennial does possess the pieces on offense, however, to turn around the production at any moment.
Senior wide receiver Julian Nixon (6-foot-3, 230-pounds) is a Tennessee commit and isn’t the only player on Centennial’s roster with size and speed. Receiver Drake Mason (6-3, 170) is a capable option opposite of Nixon and freshman offensive tackle Daniel Calhoun (6-5, 302) already holds college offers from Georgia and Tennessee.
“And he’s not the only one up front,” Collins said of Calhoun. “They’re really big on the offensive and defensive lines and they have a pretty good back too. They have a couple dynamic receivers and they’ve had a little bad luck or their season could look a lot different.”
Defensively, senior defensive end Peyton Major (6-4, 228) leads Centennial in tackles for loss. Four out of five of Centennial’s top tacklers are sophomores which should provide River Ridge a slight edge with experience.
Following last week’s victory, the buzz surrounding the River Ridge program is palpable. After averaging three wins a season since 2011, the Knights remain in the midst of its best season in program history. Collins said that despite the added attention the program is receiving, it’s business as usual within the Knights’ locker room.
“I think the community is pretty excited,” Collins said. “But our message here doesn’t change, it really doesn’t. Everything else can just be noise if you allow it.”