South Charleston still has a few things to iron out, but the Black Eagles did enough good things Friday night to pick up their first win.
Junior quarterback Jon Alexander directed an offense that accounted for 551 yards of total offense as SC exploded for a 56-33 victory over pesky Riverside. A crowd of about 5,000 attended the Class AAA Mountain State Athletic Conference matchup at Oakes Field in South Charleston.
The teams combined for eight TDs in the fourth quarter as momentum swung wildly, especially during a 1-minute, 20-second stretch in which five scores occurred.
After taking a seemingly commanding 26-7 lead late in the third quarter, the Black Eagles (1-1) lost focus a bit as the Warriors (1-1) seized momentum early in the fourth quarter and closed within 26-21.
"The next thing we know, we're playing for our lives when it didn't have to be that hard,'' said SC coach John Messinger, whose squad dropped a close 36-24 decision to George Washington last week in its season opener.
"We got complacent. We came out ready to put the stake in the heart and what do we do, we start playing on our heels and they come back and make a real game of it.''
Riverside senior linebacker Alex Hillmon recovered a blocked punt in the end zone 58 seconds into the final period. After recovering the onside kick, the Warriors struck again as senior wideout Marcus Reed came open for a 52-yard scoring pass from first-year senior quarterback Trevor Rumberg with 10:48 left in the game.
SC needed just one play to right the ship as Alexander found junior wide receiver Marquel Hampton wide open over the middle for a 62-yard catch-and-run TD to restore order and give the Black Eagles a 34-21 edge with 10:27 to go.
Riverside hung tough though and Rumberg hit senior receiver Dameria Lane down the right sideline for a 61-yard score on the first play from scrimmage to cut its deficit to 34-27 with 10:06 left.
The Black Eagles this time hung onto the ensuing onside kick and two plays later sophomore running back A.D. Cunningham scampered in from 34 yards out to seize momentum for good and take a 42-27 lead.
That began a stretch of three straight TDs for SC as senior Trevond Reese, who scored earlier on a 95-yard kickoff return, burst in from 9 yards after senior Ray-Sheed Coleman's interception for a 48-27 edge. Reese then scored on a 33-yard catch-and-run from Alexander after the Warriors turned the ball over on downs for a 56-27 lead.