Austin Kremkoski, Riverside.jpg

Austin Kremkoski, Riverside

(Oakland) -- Riverside football is thriving as the postseason approaches, and they will get another chance at success this Friday night.

The Bulldogs (5-1 overall, 2-1 A District 9) have rallied off three consecutive wins, including on Friday night when they rolled to a 35-14 takedown of Davis County in a thrown together matchup that was held in Leon.

“The biggest thing is the opportunity to play,” Riverside head coach Darrell Frain told KMA Sports. “We went out of our way to find somebody to play. We thought we were going to Gibbon, Nebraska, but that fell through. Davis County called, and it all worked out for us.”

Lost in the wackiness of the 2020 season is the fact that Coach Frain’s program is currently experiencing its best season in years. The five victories mark the first time they’ve reached that win total since 2013 and just the second time since 2008.

“We’ve been getting better and better each game,” Frain added. “We are better this week than last, and hopefully we can continue to do that. The kids are excited about it, and now they’re using that because they know we’re getting better. It’s carrying over on the field.”

Junior quarterback Austin Kremkoski has thrown for 887 yards, rushed for 296 and accounted for 18 total offensive touchdowns. Junior running back Rhett Bentley has also been a key piece with 636 yards and six scores on the ground. And senior receiver Brogan Allensworth is one of four players with at least 115 yards receiving, leading the team with 15 grabs for 307 yards and a team-best five touchdowns.

On defense, senior defensive end Eddie Vlcek leads the way with 35.0 tackles, 25 solos, 10.0 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Sophomore defensive tackle Nathan Messerschmidt (7.0 TFL) and senior linebacker Caden Manzer (6.5 TFL) have also been key components for a defense that ranks fourth in Class A with just 10.8 points allowed per game.

“We just show up and take care of business,” Frain said in alluding to their most recent win. However, that could be a microcosm of the entire season. “We do the things we are supposed to do,” he added. “Everybody is professional about it.”

Another win on Friday night against Southwest Valley (6-1, 3-1) would give the Bulldogs their first four-game win streak since they were 7-2 in the 2004 season. That, however, figures to be much easier said than done.

“Defensively, they play so fast,” Frain said of the Timberwolves. “They are all getting after it. They play hard, and they create so many problems up front. Their linebackers are tough, defensively.”

The Southwest Valley defense has been all over opponent’s backfields this season. They rank first in Class A with 23.5 sacks and second — behind Riverside — with 61.5 tackles for loss. Senior Tucker TePoel leads the team with 16.5 TFLs while classmate Kaden Jacobs has 11.5 and junior Cade Myers has tallied 10.5.

On offense, junior quarterback Brendan Knapp has had a nice year with 528 yards passing, 771 yards rushing and 17 total offensive scores.

“They try to bull you over,” Frain said. “The last few weeks, they’ve been throwing a little more. They create all kinds of problems for us.”

Frain hopes his team will avoid turnovers and create long drives against the Timberwolves on Friday evening.

“We (need) to control the ball a little bit, maybe have a big play here and there, keep the ball out of their hands and take care of it,” Frain said. “We’ve got ourselves in trouble early this year with some turnovers, but if we take care of the ball, control the ball and fly around on defense, we’ll have a shot.”

Jake Gillespie will have reports on Friday night from Oakland in an important A-9 matchup. Hear his reports on the Red Oak Chrysler Football Connection Show, which runs on AM 960 and FM 99.1 from 7:10 to 9:30.

Listen to the complete interview with Coach Frain below.

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