By Gary Dove
For The Register-Herald
For the second time in three years, the River View Raiders have denied Westside a playoff berth in the final game of the regular season.
Two years ago, the two Class AA schools tied 16-all at Welch, as the first-year Raiders got into the postseason and the Renegades did not.
On Saturday at the Raiders’ Ravine in Bradshaw, River View came up big on both sides of the football to record an 18-12 victory and earn a spot in this year’s playoffs, while again denying Westside the opportunity to experience postseason play.
Analyzed Raider head coach Mitch Estep, who has his club in the playoffs for the third time in its short three-year history, “The coaches put a game plan in and they (players) just executed it to perfection.”
A big part of that game plan was slowing down a Renegade offense that was averaging 32.4 points per game over their first nine games of 2012.
The View defense came up big on its side of the football, holding the visitors to the fewest points they had scored in a game all year long (Westside also scored a dozen in a loss to Scott). The Renegade offense ended its day with only 122 yards rushing and 69 more passing for 191 total.
Meanwhile, the Raiders, led by sophomore Jordan Wilson’s 184 yards on the ground, finished with 323 yards rushing, or a whopping 5.6 yards per attempt. Wilson eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season on a 4-yard run with 6:17 left in the opening half.
He is the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Raiders, and now stands at 1,154 after Saturday’s game.
Turnovers were also a factor in the River View win. The Renegades lost three of four fumbles, with the third of those turnovers leading to the go-ahead Raider touchdown late in the third quarter. The View, meanwhile, did not have any turnovers.
Sophomore quarterback Justin Cogar guided his team on a 12-play, 73-yard march, plunging into the end zone with 53 seconds remaining for a 6-0 Renegade lead at halftime.
That TD by Cogar, who rushed 21 times for 57 yards to lead his club’s ground attack, marked the third third-down conversion of the march.
Looking back after the contest, Westside head coach Darren Thomas related of his team, that received the kickoff to open the second half, “Offensively, at halftime, I thought after that touchdown, we’d be able to come out and do some things.”
That wasn’t the case, as River View stopped the Renegades twice on three-and-out series to open the second half.
The second time, a Cogar booming 55 yard punt-and-roll pinned the View at its own 16.
Wilson gained eight yards on first down before tying the game on the next play, a 76-yard gallop that started with him breaking a pair of tackles at the line of scrimmage before bouncing outside for the score, with 5:13 left in the third.
It was Wilson’s defensive fumble recovery at the Renegade 10 that set up the go-ahead points.
Senior quarterback Austin Walker, who carried the football 16 times for 54 yards, recorded back-to-back 5-yard gainers, with the second vaulting River View into the 12-6 lead with 2:02 remaining in the third quarter.
With just over nine minutes showing in the game, seniors Zach Shelton and Brandon Thomas stopped Cogar on a fourth-down run at the Raider 20.
Walker engineered a textbook drive that did two things: ran time off the clock and concluded with an insurance score, a 1-yard sneak by Walker with 1:50 left in regulation.
Cogar moved the Renegades quickly downfield in only 1:19 for a score to answer Walker’s second run.
He completed three passes for 47 yards in the 55-yard march, and he added the points himself on a 1-yard keeper with 31 ticks remaining.
Complimented Thomas of the Raiders, “They had a good defensive scheme ... When they had to, they came out and got three or four yards a pop and did what they had to do. They executed today and we didn’t.”
Westside concludes the season at 5-5.
The Raiders’ spot in the top 16 will be announced later today, as well as River View’s first-round opponent and the date, time and place of the game.
River View 18, Westside 12
W 0 6 0 6 — 12
RV 0 0 12 6 — 18
WS: Justin Cogar 1 run (run failed), :53.
RV: Jordan Wilson 76 run (run failed), 5:13.
RV: Austin Walker 5 run (pass failed), 2:02.
RV: Walker 1 run (run failed), 1:50.
WS: Cogar 1 run (run failed), :31.
RUSHING: WS: Justin Cogar 21-57, Michael Mullens 14-34, Dylan Newsome 3-25; RV: Jordan Wilson 25-184, Austin Walker 16-54, Sammy Brewster 15-50, Ryan Blankenship 2-35.
PASSING: WS: Cogar 6-16, 69 yds; RV: Walker 1-7, 3 yds.
RECEIVING: WS: Newsome 2-27, Corey Bowles 2-21, Mullens 1-11, Levi Lambert 1-10; RV: Wilson 1-3.