A football team with six losses doesn’t often reach the state championship game, but Riverside did after a surprising run through the Virginia State playoffs.
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“With the way our regular season has gone, I have to be honest with you, we certainly didn’t predict our season would end with the championship game,” Riverside coach Kieran Harris said. “I mean, you see how disgusted these guys are, like it really stings, but on the other hand, we’re just happy and maybe a little lucky to be here, so it’s hard to d ‘to be mad at the result.’
Due to injuries, Riverside (15-7) had an ever-changing roster. But as the playoffs approached, the Rams began to regain their health.
Health came with confidence and a sense of conviction, which translated into wins as Riverside used their regular season adversity to regroup for a special run.
“It’s kind of funny,” said senior Alexander Thissell. “People ask us all the time how we got here, and I try to think of something deep or fancy to say, but honestly, we just started believing in each other and the wins started rolling. to arrive.”
After nearly doubling their opponents (20-11) in the first five games of the playoffs, the Rams were unable to reach the back of the net against a stingy Cox team that had allowed only five playoff goals. .
“I think in some ways we just ran out of gas today,” Harris said. “I felt like we had burned our reservoir of motivation when we scored six yesterday. We had a lot of good looks, but nothing got us. That’s what makes this beautiful game so difficult at times.
For Cox (16-4-1), Robbie Morgan’s two goals ensured the Falcons’ long drive to Virginia Beach would be a celebratory one. Saturday’s title was the program’s first in 12 years.
“Anytime you have to go a long distance like we did today, there’s always a concern that the kids will come out slow or not get their usual juice,” Cox coach Eric Blackmore said. . “But man, did they come to play their hearts out today. They’re a great Riverside team there who gave us everything they had, and our guys went head-to-head with them. I couldn’t be prouder.