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Bruin Gridders Edge Out Waterford
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With a thrilling finish in overtime, Riverbank defeated Waterford 22-21 at varsity football on Waterford's turf Friday.

Bruin tailback Jon Blount carried the ball for the final two points when coach Matt Elkins decided to go for the run rather than a kick which could only tie the score and force another overtime.

Wide receiver Mike Dougherty scored Riverbank's first touchdown on a two-yard pass from quarterback Daniel DeCroix in the second quarter.

But Blount carried the team from there on, scoring on a 45-yard run in the fourth quarter, in addition to punching through three yards for the overtime touchdown. Adding in his runs for extra points, Blount scored 16 of Riverbank's total points.

Waterford is a small school with an inexperienced team. Although held at Waterford's Homecoming, the game was supposed to yield an easy win for Riverbank.

"But we turned the ball over five times in the first half and they scored twice on turnovers,' said Elkins. "The kids were playing not to lose instead of to win."

Down 14-6 at halftime, Riverbank showed great improvement in the second half when the Bruins scored again and ran the extra points to tie the game and send it into overtime.

In overtime, when each team gets a first down 10 yards from their opponents line, Waterford won a five-yard penalty, scored and elected to kick for seven points.

During Riverbank's turn, Blount ran to the right, broke a tackle to score and also ran for the final two points.

"Looking back, I think it was probably better for us to struggle through a close game rather than dominate as expected," said Elkins. "We made six turnovers all told. We need to hold onto that ball better."

Riverbank put up a good defense. Elkins picked out Ted Sigiura for "a lot of interceptions and at least eight tackles," and Jeff Lopez and Ricky Perez for excellent efforts.

Nick Cota also, he added, "caused a number of snaps to be fumbled and is one of the top defensive linemen in the league."

The Bruins league record is now 3-1. Since Modesto Christian lost to LeGrand, Riverbank is now in a three-way tie with those two teams for first place.

In statistics, Riverbank amassed a total of 222 yards to Waterford's 161, The Bruins rushed for 151 yards on 45 carries, compared with Waterford's 39 carries for 85 yards. Both quarterbacks passed for 81 yards; DeCroix completing five out of 16 attempted passes.

This Friday for Homecoming, Riverbank will face the green and gold clad Grizzlies of Mariposa.

Mariposa suspended 10 of its players for disciplinary reasons at the season's start and lost their first two games, Elkins noted. But the Grizzlies have won their last three games, including a 13-12 defeat of Denair.

"They could be formidable. We need to execute," said Elkins. "It's not how good we think we are that counts. It's how good we play."