The Riverside Rams, who were pushed around for most of the game, shoved back at the most opportune time on Friday.
The Rams, who saw Lakeside run 49 plays in the first three quarters (as compared to 29 of their own), responded with a pair of fourth quarter touchdown to edge the Eagles 14-10 in Northeast A League action.
The win improved the Rams’ NE-A record to 1-1 and 2-2 overall. It was the NE-A opener for the Eagles (1-3).
“We stopped them when we needed to,” said Riverside interim head coach Mark Vannatter. “We made plays.”
Among those who made some big plays was senior Kit Major, who rushed for 89 yards on 10 carries in the decisive fourth quarter.
“It was all a team effort out there,” said Major, who also plays defensive back.
The Rams, who trailed 10-7 with 7 minutes to go, got a new life when Jeff Reed recovered a Jimmy Day fumble at the Riverside 10-yard line.
“Let’s go boys we can do this,” said Major on the team’s mood after getting the ball back.
Using Major on three straight running plays, the Rams moved the ball 24 yards. Three more runs by Major later in the drive put the ball on the Lakeside 17-yard line.
A 16-yard run by Dewey Bender got the ball to the Eagle 1-yard line. Two plays later Bender scored and the Rams had their first lead of the game with 1:58 remaining.
“We just made sure everybody was blocking the right guy,” said Vannatter on the drive’s success.
Lakeside had one final chance to take the lead, but another fumble ended the Eagle drive on the Ram 34-yard line with 1:17 remaining.
The at-times overbearing Eagles, who led 7-0 at halftime, looked liked they were going to wear out the Ram defense in the third quarter with a 16-play drive that ate up 9 minutes. The Riverside defense finally stiffened and Lakeside had to settle for a 38-yard field goal by Kinner Blum.
“They got us down a couple of times, but we tried to get each other going,” Major said.
The Rams, who had given up an average of 40 points per game prior to Friday, kept the Eagles off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
Vannatter said his team’s stellar defensive effort was a matter of making a couple of personnel changes, including the return of Jordan Wood who missed the first three games of the year, and more work on defense during practice.
The Ram offense, which ran only 29 plays in the first 36 minutes, finally got untracked in the final minute of the third quarter, thanks to 36-yard run by Major, who finished with a game-high 173 yards rushing on 21 carries.
The senior, coming back from a broken leg he suffered during a freestyle wrestling tournament this spring, trimmed the Lakeside lead to 10-7 with a 9-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Day, who did most of his damage in the first half, led the Lakeside attack with 117 yards on 21 carries,
Riverside returns home 7 p.m. Friday to face Newport (1-0, 4-0) in their annual Homecoming game. The Grizzlies are coming off a 41-26 win over Chewelah.