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The St. Bede football team got off to a slow start Friday at home against Riverdale as it fell behind the Rams by five points early in the second quarter.
But the Bruins rebounded with 40 unanswered points — while pitching a shutout the second half — as SBA claimed a 47-12 win in Big Rivers Conference action on Senior Night at the Academy.
The win guarantees a playoff spot for St. Bede, which advanced to 6-2 with the victory.
“You’ve got to give (Riverdale) a lot of credit. Their kids played hard with very few numbers” said St. Bede coach John Bellino of the winless Rams, who did not field a sophomore squad and dressed just 20 players for the varsity contest. “They’re tough kids and they came right at us. They hurt us early in the game and we finally decided we’ve got to start playing football.”
The Bruins struck first after Riverdale (0-8, 0-8 BRC) fumbled away the opening kickoff.
SBA capitalized on the turnover with a short drive that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown run from Austin Schwab for a 7-0 lead just two minutes into the contest.
Riverdale responded with a pair of scores, the first on a 1-yard plunge from running back Terry White to end a 47-yard drive setup by a strong kick return from White, and the second on a 76-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Wyatt Klavon to senior receiver Bart Johnson.
After the quick pair of scores, the Rams were up 12-7 with 10:05 left in the second quarter.
But from there on out it was all St. Bede.
Senior receiver Brad Groleau matched his jersey number with a 46-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Taggart Venegas, and Schwab capped off a four-play, 49-yard drive with an 11-yard scoring run to put the Bruins up 20-12 entering intermission.
The Bruins broke the game open with three touchdowns in the third quarter. Venegas capped off a 47-yard Academy drive on the Bruins’ first possession of the third quarter with a 13-yard touchdown scramble off a naked bootleg to the right.
After a three-and-out from the Rams, the junior signal-caller then connected on a 55-yard scoring strike to senior receiver Damin Smith to increase the Academy advantage to 33-12 after an extra point kick from sophomore Santiago Galatas.
“In the second half, we made a couple adjustments and we were able to do our job. We talked about it at halftime and felt like we could jump on them early — and that’s what we did,” said Venegas, who finished 6-for-8 for 167 yards and three passing touchdowns.
Venegas registered his third and final touchdown pass of the contest 2 ½ minutes later following another Riverdale three-and-out. This time he found senior running back Bobby Morrow on a 29-yard pass to put the Bruins up 40-12 midway through the third quarter.
“I think we came out a little soft in the first half after the senior festivities and stuff. But the second half we really kicked it into gear,” said Morrow, who caught three passes for 50 yards and ran the ball 11 times for 80 yards in the contest.
“(Venegas) did a great job today — every throw was on the money and right where it needed to be — and the offensive line did an outstanding job today.” SBA fullback Sam Halm added the exclamation point with a 3-yard touchdown run on the Bruins’ next possession to end the scoring at 47-12 with 10:13 left in the contest.
Schwab finished with 14 carries for 80 yards and the pair of scores, while Groleau added 40 yards of rushing on three carries for the Academy, which managed 432 yards of total offense.
White led the Rams with 62 yards of rushing on 20 carries. The Bruins’ defense limited Riverdale to 200 total yards, 111 of which came on the ground.
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995 or at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.
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