After spotting Pope six points, Riverwood began an offensive onslaught, scoring 28 unanswered points before halftime,
on the way to a 35-19 victory.
Option quarterback Grant Drakeford was instrumental in guiding the Raiders (6-3, 3-1) to the win, going 5-of-10 through the air and rushing for three touchdowns.
“He did what Grant does. He’s a winner,” Riverwood coach Robert Ingram said. “We go as Grant goes, and (Friday) we followed him to the win.”
Last week, Ingram said his team would have to start fast to beat Pope (3-5, 2-1), and his team responded — at least defensively. The Greyhounds accumulated 56 yards of offense in the first half, while quarterback Taylor Wolf only completed two of 13 passes. The junior ultimately finished 6-of-21 for 46 yards with three interceptions on the evening.
The Greyhounds got on the board first, with a 48-yard interception return by Ben Doran providing a 6-0 lead. But Riverwood responded with scoring drives of 75, 39, 79, and 65 yards to bring the score to 28-6 at the half.
“We thought they would try to hold up the line of scrimmage, and we knew we needed to use our speed to get outside, and we did that.” Ingram said.
Riverwood took advantage of defensive miscues by Pope early, catching the Greyhounds on two flea-flickers in the first half, including one for a 32-yard touchdown thrown by Marcus Rosser.
“I’m ecstatic about the win,” Ingram said. “But like I told the kids, there is a difference between being a very good football team and a great football team, and we want to make that jump.”
The Raiders came out of the tunnel strong, driving 93 yards on their opening drive of the second half to extend the lead to 35-6. The drive was capped by a 3-yard run by Drakeford.
Pope was able to tack on two late touchdowns as Mason Shiflett and Wolf each found the end zone.
“We couldn’t beat their DBs 1-on-1, and when we got something going, we turned the ball over, and you can’t do that against good teams,” Pope coach Matt Kemper said. “Our goal is to get back into the playoffs, and our kids will respond to that.”
Now third in the subregion behind Kell and Riverwood, Pope will host the leading Longhorns next week. If the Greyhounds can upset undefeated Kell, it would create a three-way tie in the subregion, ahead of the Nov. 8 play-in game for a state playoff berth.
A loss for Pope against Kell, and it will be the subregion’s No. 3 seed, with a trip to the No. 2 team of the region’s northern half, likely Sequoyah, for a playoff berth.