CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Certainly, the season hasn't gone the way Riverside intended. But there has been one very unexpected, very bright spot for the Warriors.
It's their productive passing game, which has ranked all season among the leaders in the Mountain State Athletic Conference.
And to make the story even more intriguing, it's been done largely through the contributions of three senior newcomers - receivers Marcus Reed and Damarrie' Lain and quarterback Trevor Rumberg.
Reed and Lain are basketball players who came out for the gridiron sport for the first time this fall, and Rumberg is a former wideout who was moved to QB after the graduation of Zach Petry left the job open.
"Coming into the season, I didn't realize that we had that ability to pass the ball around as much as we have been,'' said Riverside offensive coordinator Nate Johnson, a former Warriors running back. "It's been a strong point for us, and we've been leaning on it a whole lot.''
Through eight games, all three players have opened eyes around the league and put up some decent numbers, even though the Warriors (1-7) have lost a couple tight games and won just once this season.
Rumberg (6-foot-1, 160 pounds) enters the final two games of the season needing just 190 passing yards to become the program's single-season record holder. Currently, Josh Clark holds the mark, throwing for 1,613 yards in 2004. Rumberg, with 1,424 yards in the air, has also passed for 11 touchdowns against nine interceptions.
Reed ranks third in the MSAC in receiving with 38 catches for 778 yards and seven touchdowns, and Lain also stands in the top 15 in the league with 26 catches for 332 yards and two scores. Lain also ran for a TD against Cabell Midland.
The trio's development has been a boost for Riverside, which experienced problems moving the ball with the run after breaking in nearly an entirely new offense. Rumberg, in fact, leads the team with 323 yards and six TDs rushing.
"Going into the season, we thought we'd rely on the running game,'' Johnson said. "The first game of the season, we mixed around a lot of different running backs. Going into the South Charleston game, where the running game didn't work too well, we went to the passing game, and with about five minutes left, we were in the game and we'd done it all through the air.