It has been a football season to forget on Warrior Drive.
However, Riverdale’s football team took a significant step forward for 2014 this past Friday night with a 21-19 upset win over Siegel. Now, the Warriors (3-6 overall, 3-2 in 7-AAA) will attempt to play spoiler one more time when they face Smyrna (6-3, 2-3) at 7 p.m. Friday at Tomahawk Stadium.
“Hopefully, we’ve turned a little corner there with these kids,” Riverdale coach Ron Aydelott said. “Hopefully, they like that and will give us the same effort.
“I still think Smyrna may be a little bit better football team. But, I think we’re possibly a little more equal with them than Siegel because of the number of returners that Siegel had. But Smyrna has done a good job.”
Siegel dropped from fifth to ninth in the AP Class 6A statewide poll after the loss.
While Riverdale is mathematically out of reaching the Class 6A football playoffs, the Warriors can finish as the outright third-place finisher in District 7-AAA with a victory over the Bulldogs.
In the current TSSAA prep football playoff system, only the top two finishers in each district are guaranteed spots in the playoffs. The rest of the field is made up of teams with the best record.
Riverdale currently has a one-game lead over Smyrna and Siegel (6-3, 2-3) for third place in the district. Siegel hosts La Vergne (3-6, 1-4) on Friday, for the third spot.
But Smyrna and Siegel are both likely locks for the 6A playoffs no matter what happens Friday night.
A three-way tie gives Siegel third place in 7-AAA.
“We knew we had to get this win,” Riverdale senior Tad Onwu said. “We practiced hard this week. We executed. We did everything.
“We’re just trying to keep the Warrior spirit up.”
Aydelott said several freshmen played significant roles in the win over the Stars. Marqwell Odom, who has started at quarterback all season, threw for 179 yards in the win and played in the secondary and punt return coverage.
Freshman Preston Barge played free safety. Nick Boykin played at defensive tackle and Jordan Jefferson — younger brother of MTSU receiver Tavarres Jefferson — played at fullback and on the defensive line.
Aydelott said he played several of his younger players for a reason.
“They are the best players we have,” Aydelott said. “They know what to do, and do it hard. This was probably the first time we’ve really played hard on both sides of the ball.
“We didn’t hurt ourselves in the kicking game. (Siegel) made some mistakes, and everything just went our way.”
Riverdale and Smyrna met in the Rutherford County Jamboree prior to the season. The two teams finished tied 0-0 in a half of football played mainly at midfield.