The No. 1 Roosevelt Rough Riders showed much of the same first-game sloppiness many of their peers did, but their defense was in midseason form.
That was more than enough for Roosevelt to post a convincing 30-0 win Saturday over Brandon Valley in a game that was halted early in the fourth quarter due to lightning.
Taryn Christion had two touchdowns rushing and two passing to lead the Rider offense, but nearly all of those scores were set up by a dominant effort from the defense and a pair of crucial special teams mistakes by the Lynx.
Brandon came out throwing under new quarterback Jake Comeaux and moved the ball effectively, but they had trouble once inside their opponent’s 30-yard line. That inability to punch it in cost them, as the Riders finally got going late in the first half.
After a safety gave Roosevelt a 2-0 lead, Christion capped off a scoring drive with a six-yard scoring strike to Chase Vinatieri to make it 9-0. Early in the third they made it 16-0 on another solid drive that ended with Christion going in from 1-yard out.
A four-yard toss from Christion to Jake Bear made it 23-0, and Christion capped off the scoring with a four-yard run early in the fourth.
That pretty much put the game out of reach, but with just under 10 minutes to go both teams were pulled off the field and the fans were ordered to evacuate the facility when lightning appeared to the east. The game was put into a delay, but within 10-15 minutes the decision was made to call the game, which had already been played in intense heat and humidity.
Christion completed 14-of-25 passes for 152 yards and rushed for 62 yards, but Rider coach was mostly pleased with his defense.
“They were great,” Roosevelt coach Kim Nelson said, noting in particular the play of defensive end Kory Lindquist – who had two sacks – and linebacker Kirby Hora. “(Brandon’s) offense really challenges you with all the different looks they give you and the way they spread the field, but our defense just played terrific football.
“They set up just about every one of our scores. Our offense sputtered a little bit, and I’m really disappointed with all the pre-snap penalties. But it’s the first game of the year and everybody has a lot of stuff to clean up. I’m pretty happy that we came in and beat a really good team on their home field.”
Indeed, while the score might indicate a blowout, Brandon didn’t appear to be overmatched physically by the Riders, and the score was more indicative of special teams mistakes by the Lynx. Their defense caused problems for the Rider ground game, and they showed playmaking ability on offense. Comeaux completed 17-of-29 passes for 132 yards, but was intercepted three times.
“We showed some signs of good things,” said Lynx coach Chad Garrow. “We also showed signs of being a team with just a few guys back on offense and defense. We knew it would be tough to have to face a team like that right out of the chute. A lot of the mistakes are things that are fixable. We’ve got some film we can show the kids now, so we’ll look forward and just try to keep getting better.”