What could prove to be one of the biggest games in Region 7AAAAAA this season will be played Friday night in Sandy Springs.
River Ridge will travel to Riverwood this Friday and will look to begin a season 5-0 for the first time in program history. The Knights’ 40 point-per-game average is the best in both Cherokee County and Region 7AAAAAA, while the 80 total points allowed is tied with Johns Creek for third-best in the region.
The Knights are coming off a bye and they have been led by junior running back Amehre Morrison. With speed and elusiveness, Morrison has amassed 827 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns and entered last Friday leading Class AAAAAA in rushing and ranking second among all classifications.
“I think he’d tell you, and I’d agree with him, that it starts with our offensive line,” River Ridge coach Mike Collins said. “Our line has done a tremendous job so far this season.”
The River Ridge passing game has benefited from its dynamic tailback, with Carson Lathem having completed 62% of his passes for 580 yards and seven touchdowns. Jackson Head, Riley Caines and Andrew Bingham have been the main receiving threats, with Head’s three receiving touchdowns tied for the county lead.
Defensively, the Knights have leaned on defensive lineman Brian Bradley, who leads the team in tackles (34) and sacks (3). Scotty Rutherford, Aidan Bruton and Connor Gross all have more than 30 tackles this season, while Hunter Deriso leads River Ridge with seven tackles for loss.
Riverwood lost 27-20 last Friday against Johns Creek. The Raiders, coached by former Georgia star and NFL running back Robert Edwards, have been led offensively by quarterback Avery Smith, a dual-threat athlete who has been offered by Akron and received attention from Maryland, Tulane and Memphis.
River Ridge will need to contain Smith’s running ability while also defending his primary target, Donovan Logan. The speedy wide receiver has been electric in the open field this season and is capable of scoring on every touch.
Defensively, defensive linemen Jonathan Brown (6-4, 232) and Tillman Weaver (6-3, 240) have been two of the better players for Riverwood this season. Cornerback Khalil Anderson, a Pittsburgh commit, is the Raiders’ best college prospect with offers from South Carolina, Arkansas and Ole Miss, among others.
“Their quarterback is a great player and their receiving corps is dynamic in open space,” Collins said. “They’ve also got a pair of bookends on the defensive line, so it’s going to be a big challenge for us this week.”