It wasn’t the start Riverdale coach Ron Aydelott wanted.
The finish, though, was better than he could have scripted.
Riverdale erupted for 28 points in the second half, scoring four times within nine plays, to defeat Brighton 42-19 in a Week 0 season opener.
“I thought really it was (our) defense set it up more than than us exploding offensively,” Aydelott said. “I thought we were pretty sad offensively.”
Riverdale’s first two second-half touchdowns were set up by interceptions. A third came after a stop at the goal line on fourth down. And one answered a Brighton touchdown.
Riverdale (1-0) led 14-6 at halftime despite losing the ball on the opening kickoff when the Warriors failed to field it. The Warriors also lost the ball on a fumble inside the Brighton 30.
But the Warriors woke up in the second half.
Brandon Stewart intercepted a Brady Stewart interception to set up Mariko Odom’s 16-yard TD run two plays later to make it 21-6 with 8:19 left.
Austin McGrone intercepted Stewart’s pass five plays later to halt the Cardinals’ next drive. Five plays later, Ricardo Terry scored on a 1-yard TD run.
“I guess we came out kind of flat,” Riverdale senior Scottie Boykin said. “We fumbled the ball the first drive. After halftime, we plugged in and came together.”
Riverdale quarterback Dillon Woodruff, who made his return after a torn ACL in the Class 6A state quarterfinals a year ago, did not run the ball during the game, only falling on a fumble. He was 4 of 8 passing for 29 yards.
“Maybe I was a little too careful (Friday),” Aydelott said. “He’s ready to do those things. I’m just not sure I am.”
Antonio Dickerson put Brighton (0-1) back in the ballgame momentarily when he broke free for a 39-yard TD run with 2:41 left in the third quarter. But Odom took the ball on a double handoff, squirted free from a potential tackle and sprinted 59 yards for the score to give the Warriors a 35-12 lead 15 seconds later.
“Games are one and lost in the third quarter, and we lost the third quarter,” Brighton coach Will Wolfe said.
Odom finished the game with 186 yards on seven carries. He later had a 96-yard TD run after Stewart’s incomplete pass on fourth down.
Terry had 93 yards on seven carries. Fullback Peyton Phillips added 73 yards on six carries.
“Our backfield is very deep,” Terry said. “We all started to get more reps in, which was good because I got a little tired. They helped me out.
“The turnovers really helped us out tonight because that gave us the momentum.”
Brighton quarterback Brady Stewart was 25-of-41 passing for 248 yards with two touchdown passes and three interceptions. Both touchdown passes were to Artez Harris, who finished with 10 catches for 110 yards.
Dickerson had 134 yards on 21 carries.
Terry had a 51-yard run off a double handoff for Riverdale’s first score. Odom picked off a Stewart pass and returned it 52 yards for Riverdale’s only other score.