This was the kind of relentless pressure the River Riders defence placed upon the Panthers quarterback throughout Sunday's tilt. By the look of things, the quarterback is petrified for good reason. Herald photo by Gary Pearson
--PRINCE ALBERT-- Gary Pearson, Herald staff
The Knoll Panthers of Saskatoon will be hesitant upon returning to Prince Albert, as the bantam River Riders bashed and bruised their undermanned enemy on route to a 20-0 shutout.
“It feels good,” said defensive end Peyton Syr. “Our whole defence is ecstatic.”
And so they should be. Though the offence performed admirably, it is the defence that should accept the plaudits.
Led by 13-year-old Syr, the Panthers had nowhere to run. Time after time, the defence punctured the Panthers’ fragile offensive line, which resulted in numerous negative yardage plays for the visitors.
Two Panthers’ punts were blocked, one of which resulted in the game’s first major. The River Riders once again punched the ball in to take a 14-0 lead early in the second half.
One of a few successful Panthers’ attacks was thwarted at the last, as Ryland Gibb galloped almost 70 yards to make a last-gasp, touchdown-saving tackle. The ball was placed on the two-yard line at a pivotal point of the contest.
The defence reinforced the stranglehold it had on the blustery Sunday afternoon. Stifling and smothering, the River Riders stymied the Panthers' three attempts of breaching the goal line.
The stop spurred on the offence, who were privileged enough to rest while their defensive counterparts went to work.
Scrapping for yards, the offence slowly progressed up the field and away from their own end zone. Pounding the ball worked effectively for the home side, and the grunt work finally paid off.
Quarterback Josh Carrier, 14, handed the ball off to running back Kyle Deibert, whose 50-yard rumble gave his team the breathing room they so doggedly deserved.
“In the first half we struggled a bit,” said 14-year-old Deibert. “We pulled ahead in the second when we started executing."
Carrier carried the ball over the goal line to cap off a sterling drive, which sent the visitors home demoralized, with nothing to show from a physically charged afternoon of football.
The River Riders are now 2-1 after consecutive home triumphs. Travelling to Saskatoon to battle the Raiders on Sunday, Sept. 25, the River Riders hope to break the duck away from Prime Ministers’ Park.
In the earlier game, the River Riders peewee outfit could not muster enough guile to make it a clean sweep. The Panthers younger team prevailed 41-27, earning the away club a share of the spoils.