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GAME 6 PREVIEW > Riverwood Raiders

By, with Lou Cella, Kenny Crute, Robert Ingram and David Rutz contributing, 10/02/12, 9:00PM EDT


'Second Season' begins with SouthWest SubRegion play... Now it matters

Kell Handles Riverwood in SubRegion Opener

by Greg Oshust
Marietta Daily Journal Sports Writer
October 06, 2012

SANDY SPRINGS — Kell got most of the scoring it needed in the first half as the Longhorns coasted to a decisive 35-7 victory over Riverwood in their Region 7AAAAA (B) opener Friday at Bill Hoskyn Stadium.

The Longhorns took control early with two touchdowns in the first quarter and a couple more in the second period to take a 28-0 halftime lead, adding one more score in the final eight minutes.

“Obviously, we got off to a good start,” Kell coach Derek Cook said. “The offensive line was blocking well, moving the chains, just doing great. We got great play on both sides of the ball.”

Kell handed Riverwood (5-1, 0-1) its first defeat of the season. The Raiders were off to their first 5-0 start since 1986.

Jamari Moore rushed for 115 yards on nine carries, while Khalil Bell scored two rushing touchdowns to lead a strong Kell ground game that gained 223 yards.

It took Kell (5-1, 1-0) only three plays to score on its first offensive series of the game as Bell ran 51 yards to take the ball down to the Riverwood 10 and set up Bell’s 10-yard touchdown run and Cameron Massung’s extra-point kick with 8:53 remaining in the first quarter to give the Longhorns a 7-0 lead.

Kell forced Riverwood to punt on the ensuing series and the Longhorns ran the punt back to the Raider 18 with 5:49 left in the quarter.

It only took two plays for the Longhorns to score, with Matthew McGuigan throwing a 13-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Henkle and Massung making the extra-point kick with 4:59 left to make it 14-0.

Kell scored yet again on its next possession as McGuigan’s 68-yard pass to Michael Valero put the ball at the Riverwood 4 and the Longhorns scored two plays later on Bell’s 2-yard run, with Massung kicking the extra-point, to increase the Longhorns’ advantage to 21-0 with 9:53 remaining in the first half.

The Longhorns scored on their fourth consecutive possession when Brendan Langley ran 47 yards on a reverse for a touchdown and Massung added the extra point to push the lead up to 28-0 with 5:58 left in the half.

Riverwood finally got its offense going on its first possession of the second half as Grant Drakeford’s 34-yard pass to Jonathan Goodson took the ball down to the Kell 8 and set up Tyler Blake’s 4-yard touchdown run two plays later, with Xzavier Fleming adding the extra point, to cut the Longhorns’ lead to 28-7 with 5:42 remaining in the third quarter.

Riverwood kept Kell’s offense at bay for most of the second half, but the Longhorns got a golden opportunity when Grant Morgan recovered a fumble at the Raider 6-yard line with 3:16 left in the game.

It took only three plays for Kell to capitalize on its chance as McGuigan scored on a 3-yard quarterback keeper and Massung booted the extra point with 1:59 left to give the Longhorns their final margin of victory.

“Obviously, Riverwood being an undefeated team, came back in the second half as an undefeated team should,” Cook said. “I’m not going to say we let up, because I don’t thing we did. They just came back strong in the second half, played a little harder, executed a little better. I guess it was a 7-7 game in the second half.”


Riverwood Raiders Having Playoff Visions

Riverwood Head Coach Robert Ingram (file photo by Atlanta Journal Constitution, c.2010)

by David Rutz
August 14, 2012


SANDY SPRINGS - It’s been a long time coming for Riverwood, but the Raiders are binding together to finally give the school a proud football identity they have sought for years.

After last season’s 5-5 campaign, their best record in six years and which included a 44-26 rout of powerful Grady, the Raiders feel more strongly than ever they are on the verge of breaking through and reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

It’s showing in their attitude toward one another and having an “us against the world” mentality, said coach Robert Ingram.

“We talk about what it is to be a brotherhood, having a passion for the game and respecting the opponent and loving one another,” Ingram said. “This group of kids, more so than any group since I’ve been here, does that.”

Ingram’s helped rebuild a program by giving it some needed stability. Now in his fifth season, he’s the longest-tenured coach since Milo Mathis (1983-88) according to

Riverwood has more than 100 players for the first time under Ingram, and those numbers will be needed as the Raiders face the jump from Class AAA to AAAAA. They’ll compete in Division B of Region 7-AAAAA against the likes of Kell, Pope and Sprayberry, three consistently strong Cobb County teams.

“It’s a heck of a jump and it’s a heck of a region, and we’ve got to show up every Friday night ready to play,” Ingram said. “We won’t be scared of anybody. We’ll respect them, we’ll understand how good their programs are and all that stuff that you’re supposed to say, but we won’t be scared of them.”

The Raiders’ triple-option offense is led on the line by returning center Henry Hope and tackle Zach Kilgore, as well as two-way lineman Darius Jenkins. At quarterback, Buck Woodcox is currently No. 1 on the depth chart, with fullback Preston Stewart, slotback Tyler Blake, receiver Jonathan Goodson and multi-talented Grant Drakeford also expected to contribute.

Defensively, Jermel Johnson, who had a team-high 117 tackles last season, returns at linebacker, along with Izaiah Prouse-Lackey and Zack Houston. Stewart also plays defensive end and leads the front four there, and Aaron McIntosh should be a strong contributor at cornerback.

“We’re just deeper than we’ve ever been, and that’s a good thing, a good problem to have,” Ingram said.

To get back to the postseason for the first time since these players were starting elementary school will mean getting off to a better start. The Raiders dropped to 2-5 and 1-3 in region play last year before getting on an offensive roll and a three-game winning streak.

“The last two years we’ve come out slow,” said Stewart, a senior. “We’ve been a couple games under .500 to start, but we’re looking to start the season strong.”


Riverwood 2012 Schedule

Aug. 31  at Cambridge - AAAAA
Sept. 7   Holy Innocents’ - A
Sept. 14 at North Springs - AAAAA
Sept. 21 at Sequoyah - AAAAA
Sept. 28 Northview - AAAAA
Oct. 5    Kell* - AAAAA
Oct. 12  at Sprayberry* - AAAAA
Oct. 19  Osborne* - AAAAA
Oct. 26  Pope* - AAAAA
Nov. 9 Region Play-in Game - AAAAA

*denotes Region game


2012 Riverwood Varsity Roster

The Raiders enter Riverwood's Hoskyn Stadium in 2011 (photo by, 2011).


Lack of Weight Training and Injuries

"At Riverwood, 23 (38 percent) of the varsity players participate in organized weight training." (excerpt from "High School Football: No Weight Training Equals Alarming Injury Rates", by Kenny Crute,, October 7, 2011)


Did You Know?

Julian Hicks (photo by Furman Paladins, 2009)

Sprayberry Assistant Football Coach Julian Hicks played for and graduated from Riverwood.  He was named to the 2005 Georgia AAA All-State team, and later played for and graduated from Furman University.

Click image for larger view (from Georgia High School Football Historians Association).

Tyler Blake, Grant Drakeford Power Raiders

Tyler Blake, left, and Izaiah Prouse-Lackey of Riverwood (photo by Staff/Nathan Self,, 2012).

2012 Riverwood Game Summaries

(primarily from Riverwood Raiders website)

WEEK 6 > Kell @ Riverwood

October 5, 2012
AAAAA #13 - Kell (5-1)
PF=176, PA=96

Kell 35, Riverwood 7

The Raiders fell behind early to state powerhouse Kell High School and couldn’t overcome a 28-0 deficit. The home Raiders fought back to score early in the 3rd quarter to make the game 28-7 and had several defensive stops on the Longhorns before giving up one final score to end the game 35-7 in a loss. With the loss, the Raiders fall to a tie for second place in the region with Creekview High School.

Offensively, the Raiders were led once again by Tyler Blake who had 56 yards on 9 carries and 1 touchdown on a great option pitch by quarterback Grant Drakeford. Drakeford also connected with Jonathan Goodson on a 34 yard pass to set up the score. The Raiders finished with 194 yards on the night averaging 3.9 yards per rush.

Defensively, the Raiders were led once again by Jermel Johnson at linebacker totaling 6 tackles and 1 tackle for a loss. William Holiday added 5 stops and Conner Stewart turned in 4 tackles. The defense avenged itself in the second half by stiffening up to slow down the Kell offense in the 2nd half.

WEEK 5 > Northview @ Riverwood

September 28, 2012
AAAAA - Northview (1-4)
PF=155, PA=231

Riverwood 55, Northview 27

Tyler Blake 171 yards rushing with 3 TDs and 46 yards receiving. Logan Blackley had 104 yards rushing with 1 TD.

Jermel Johnson had 12 tackles and the defense had 3 interceptions by Aaron McIntosh, Burke Copeland and Michael Tait. Preston Stewart added 2 sacks and a tackle for a loss.

Wesley Bloeme had 2 Touchbacks on kickoffs.  Jonathan Goodson had a punt average of 41 yards.

WEEK 4 > Riverwood @ Sequoyah

September 21, 2012
AAAAA - Sequoyah (2-3)
PF=130, PA=127

Riverwood 20, Sequoyah 14

The Raiders invaded Sequoyah High School and came away with a big win to remain undefeated at 4-0. Grant Drakeford completed 6 of 9 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown pass to Jamir Dickens. Tyler Blake led the team in rushing with 109 yards on 5 carries including an electrifying 89 yard run in the 2nd quarter to put the Raiders ahead 20-7 at the half.

The second half was dominated by the Raider defense as they squandered several Sequoyah offensive possessions to win the game 20-14 and stop the home team on a 4th and goal play that could have tied the game.

Defensively the Raiders were led by its trio of linebackers. Jermel Johnson had 7 solo tackles and 3 assists while Preston Stewart had 6 solo tackles and 1 assist and a sack and Zavier Pounders had 5 tackles and 1 assist. Burke Copeland played well for the Raiders turning in 9 total tackles and an interception.

WEEK 3 > Riverwood @ North Springs

September 14, 2012
AAAAA - North Springs (0-5)
PF=31, PA=226

Riverwood 59, North Springs 13

Offensively, the Raiders were led by Junior Tyler Blake with 103 yards rushing and Junior Grant Drakeford with 95 yards rushing. Senior Jermel Johnson added two touchdowns.  In all, six players scored touchdowns as the offense racked up 417 total yards.

Senior Jermel Johnson and Junior Zavier Pounders led the defense with six tackles each. Senior Alonso Munoz had 3 tackles and an interception as the Raiders capitalized on four Spartan turnovers.

Kicker Junior Jack Addison was 8 for 8 on extra points and had a career long 40 yard field goal. Senior Jonathan Goodson returned four punts for 85 yards for an average of 21 yards and added one punt for 42 yards.

WEEK 2 > Holy Innocents @ Riverwood

September 7, 2012
A - Holy Innocents (2-3)
PF=61, PA=134

Riverwood 24, Holy Innocents 14

Tyler Blake had 9 rushes for 47 yard. Buck Woodcox had 7 rushes for 54 yards. Grant Drakeford had 13 rushes for 79 yards and 3 TD’s.

Buck left the game in the 3rd quarter with an ankle injury. X rays are negative and he will miss a couple of weeks with an ankle sprain. He was also 4 of 6 passing for 70 yards. Offensively, we had 328 yards.

Defensively, Jermel Johnson led the defense with 5 total tackles and a pass breakup.  Zavier Pounders contributed 5 tackles as well.

WEEK 1 > Riverwood @ Cambridge

August 31, 2012
AAAAA - Cambridge (0-5)
PF=79, PA=286
(first season)

Riverwood 48, Cambridge 0

Offensively, the Raiders were led by Grant Drakeford. Grant scored on a catch of 53 yards from Buck Woodcox, a run of 43 yards and a punt return of 48 yards. He also threw a 47 yard touchdown pass to Tyler Blake.  Jermel Johnson burst through for a 73 yard touchdown run coupled with Logan Blackley's 72 yard touchdown run to help highlight the offense.

Defensively, the Raiders were led by Jermel Johnson with 2 solo tackles, 2 Tackles for loss and 1 ½ sacks.

Jonathan Goodson averaged 39 yards per punt and Jack Addison had 1 touchback while the kickoff team held Cambridge inside the 20 yard line three times. Andrew Battle added three tackles on special teams.

2012 Riverwood Offensive Player Stats

(incomplete, estimated through 5 games)

Player RushYds RushTD RecYds RecTD RetYds RetTD PassYds PassTD
#10 T.Blake 600 5 100 1
#6 G.Drakeford 400 5 075 1 100 1 100 1
#4 B.Woodcox 100 0 200 2
#32 L.Blackley 200 2
#27 J.Johnson 100 3
#23 J.Dickens 025 1
(unknown) 100 8 100 2 2
TOTAL 1500 23 300 5 100 1 300 5
AVG/GAME 300.0 4.6 100.0 1.0 25.0 0.2 100.0 1.0


2012 Riverwood Defensive Player Stats

(incomplete, estimated through 5 games)

Player Tot Tkl TFL Sack PD INT FUM
#27 J.Johnson 35 2 1.5 1
#47 X.Pounders 17
#43 P.Stewart 10 4 3.0
#17 B.Copeland 09 2 2
#2 A.Munoz 03 1 1
#5 A.McIntosh 1 1
#48 M.Tait 1 1
(unknown) 1 0.5 3
TOTAL 7 5.0 6 5 3
AVG/GAME 1.4 1.0 1.2 1.0 0.6


2012 Riverwood Special Teams Player Stats

(incomplete, estimated through 5 games)

Player PAT FG FG Long PT Avg PT Long PT TB PT In20 KO TB KO In20
#37 J.Addison 26/29 2/na 40 1 3
#11 J.Goodson 33.5 42 3 4
#19 W.Bloeme 2 2
TOTAL 26/29 2/na 40 33.5 42 3 4 3 5


Riverwood's Flexbone Offense

By Lou Cella,
January 1, 2012

Before the 2011 season, Riverwood HS (GA) had not won five (5) games in a season since 2005.  After running a 2011 Flexbone Association Football Camp, Riverwood High School (GA) won five (5) games in a season for the first time since 2005.

"When we arrived at Riverwood in 2008, we realized quickly how undersized we were up front. I have always been an “option guy” and wanted to run what I considered option football. After all, there was no way we could compete with our size and lack of athleticism running the I or Gun.

After three years of mediocrity, we realized that we had become a “multiple” offensive team running more wing-t than option. After a trip to the Naval Academy in the Spring of 2011 to visit with my brother, offensive line coach, Ashley Ingram, we decided to look at having the Flexbone Association Camp come in and help us along the way.

We decided to join ranks with Seminole County and have a two-team camp. My Dad is the head coach at Seminole County and we had scrimmaged each other the past two years. Our players were familiar with each other and the coaching staffs had a great relationship. Lou Cella came in and transformed our football teams.

Seminole County went on to have the greatest season in the history of the school. Riverwood went 5-5 year and lost one game in OT and another by four points. Our turnover margin went from -11 in 2009 to +9 in 2010. We scored an average of 46 points in the last four weeks of the season and had only one turnover in that stretch, while beating the #4 ranked team [AAA Grady] in the state of Georgia. We scored on every possession.

Ball security and fundamentals have always been the cornerstone of our program. Coincidentally, it is also the foundation of the Flexbone Association Camp. We will have this camp every summer as long as I am a head coach. Thank you Lou and Flexbone team. You made the difference." - Robert Ingram, Head Football Coach, Riverwood Raiders


Riverwood 2011 Final Stats

2011 Record: 5-5 (AAA)


Riverwood Defensive Stats (2011)

Riverwood Offensive Stats (2011)


Riverwood Special Teams Stats (2011)