UPPER MARLBORO – After losing its first game in two years last week, the Riverdale Baptist Crusaders got back to winning Friday night, shutting out St. John’s Catholic Prep 35-0. Quarterback Amir Hall threw for 119 yards and two touchdowns while completing 7-9 passes. The defense also came through, stopping St. John’s all night long […]
UPPER MARLBORO – After losing its first game in two years last week, the Riverdale Baptist Crusaders got back to winning Friday night, shutting out St. John’s Catholic Prep 35-0.
Quarterback Amir Hall threw for 119 yards and two touchdowns while completing 7-9 passes. The defense also came through, stopping St. John’s all night long and even scoring a touchdown itself—a 46-yard fumble return by junior defensive back Zechariah McPhearson.
“Early on I saw they were playing off in the two deep, so I kind of felt like I could attack them in some areas,” Hall said. “I felt kind of nervous my first drive but as the game went on I was able to attack their defense.”
The game started off close, with St. John’s forcing a fumble, but it could never get its offense clicking. Riverdale Baptist finally got on the board early in the second quarter on a 17-yard touchdown catch from Hall to sophomore wide receiver Cody Wilburn.
Riverdale Baptist added two more touchdowns in the half, taking advantage of good field position after St. John’s failed on two fourth downs instead of punting. Hall connected with senior receiver Deron Smith on a 35-yard touchdown. The Crusaders went up 21-0 after a 1-yard touchdown by run junior running back Zack Campbell following a 23-yard scamper by Hall. In the half Hall completed 7-8 passes.
In the second half, Hall only attempted one pass—an interception—before the backups came into the game.
Head coach Caesar Nettles said he was happy to get the win, but there are still fixes the team needs to make. The backups struggled with penalties he said, and tight end Brandon Sikes was ejected for an unnecessary roughness penalty and will miss next week’s game against Gwynn Park.
“It was an illegal block but it was deemed unnecessary because of the score of the game. I agreed with that and the young man understands that,” Nettles said. “He is a smart kind, just an extremely passionate kid. We tell our kids to play through the whistle and the whistle hadn’t blown but we just have to play with a little more intelligence.”
Nettles said he was happy about Hall’s performance and thinks his quarterback has confidence going into next week’s showdown.
“(Amir) is one of the smartest guys we’ve ever had here at that position,” Nettles said. “He is extremely good at putting people in the right positions. We told all of our guys to be patient and let the plays come to them. You don’t have to be superhuman, just do your jobs. Amir does a good job of hitting guys in stride and we have the playmakers that can make plays.”
Hall said he is looking forward to facing Gwynn Park, especially after his performance Friday night.
“We have to come out and play fast and play smart,” Hall said. “Gwynn Park will talk, they are known for talking and getting in your face. We just have to come out and make plays and listen to the coaches. If we do that and tackle, we will be fine.”