It took all of 24 minutes for Riverdale Baptist School to find just about every way to put some points up on a football scoreboard. There was a safety near the end of the first quarter, a 42-yard touchdown run and a 35-yard touchdown pass that sandwiched it, and a punt return — sort of — that was thrown somewhere in the middle. While Devin Steele's 65-yard punt return towards the end of the first quarter was ultimately negated due to a holding penalty — a 35-yard scoring pass from Amir Hall to John Hightower ensued on the subsequent play — the rest of the touchdowns stood, and the various means of finding the end zone resulted in a comfortable, 42-6 season-opening victory for the Crusaders over Knowledge is Power Program, D.C.
“I was impressed with what I saw,” Riverdale coach Bob Shields said afterwards. “Our effort is the main thing that I was impressed with. What we want to do is play to the excellence of the game and we showed the effort today to do that.”
Riverdale first gained its soon-to-be unstoppable momentum when Reggie Harris met KIPP fullback Baron Shaw in the middle on a handoff and popped the ball loose, recovering the fumble on the 42-yard line. Two plays later, leading returning rusher Justin Baynes shed a few tacklers to break free on a 42-yard run and walked into the end zone, his first of two touchdowns on the day.
“He was unbelievable,” Shields said. “That is something we expect from him as far as effort goes every game. I don't know if we can expect those numbers every game, but we do expect him to show leadership, we expect him to play hard and lead this group.”
KIPP responded with its only touchdown of the day, a 25-yard pass from Marqivious Hunter to Quentin Hugee. But that would be all for the Panthers. Its next possession resulted in a safety after Klarance Simpson plugged up the hole and took down KIPP running back Vaughn Handon in his own end zone. Steele then returned the ensuing punt all the way back for a touchdown and, though it was called back due to holding, it was no matter of concern. On the very next play, Hall found Hightower in the right corner of the end zone for their first of two touchdown connections on the day.
“We can do it all,” Baynes said. “All of us. We're all brothers. I just try to get everybody to do the same thing I'm doing.”
And Baynes essentially did, finishing with 137 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries, while his partners in the backfield — all seven of them — went on to total 163 more yards on the ground. Steele, despite having his punt called back, still found the end zone on a 22-yard carry late in the second quarter and finished with 48 yards on three carries. Overall, five players scored for the Crusaders.
“I would like to tell you that we're a balanced team,” Shields said. “That's what I would like to tell you. You cannot win consistently in this game only being good at one thing, so we work very hard at balance.”
Riverdale Baptist 42, KIPP 6
Riverdale Baptist (1-0) 15 13 14 0 — 42
KIPP (0-1) 6 0 0 0 — 6
RB — Justin Baynes 42 run (Jeremiah McBride kick)
K — Quentin Hugee 25 pass from Marqivious Hunter (Lenny Lewis kick failed)
RB — Safety
RB — John Hightower 35 pass from Amir Hall (Jeremiah McBride kick failed)
RB — John Hightower 28 pass from Amir Hall (Jeremiah McBride kick)
RB — Devin Steele 22 run (Amir Hall run failed)
RB — Justin Baynes 2 run (Jeremiah McBride kick)
RB — Corrin Johnson 6 run (Jeremiah McBride kick)
Riverdale — Justin Baynes 10-137; Aaron Speight 6-52; Devin Steele 3-48; Reggie Harris 4-29; Zach Campbell 2-20; Corrin Johnson 4-13; Amir Hall 1-1; Leon Scott 1-(-)1. KIPP — Vaughn Handon 19-79; Baron Shaw 3-11; Marqivious Hunter 7-9; Quentin Hugee 2-3; David Graham 1-1.
Riverdale — Amir Hall 3-7-69-1. KIPP — Marqivious Hunter 4-8-57; Vaughn Handon 1-1-4; Quentin Hugee 0-1.
Riverdale — John Hightower 3-69. KIPP — Bruce Beuzard IV 2-34; Quentin Hugee 2-29; Vaughn Handon 1-(-)2.