River Ridge has been in the 2A South Puget Sound League for only a little more than two years, but the Hawks might have already worn out their welcome.
Kelle Sanders threw two touchdown passes, Trey Dorfner and Josh Braverman each added fourth-quarter TD runs, and the Hawks maintained their grip on league opponents with a 35-14 triumph over visiting Renton on Thursday at South Sound Stadium.
“Renton’s a good football team. They’re big up front and play physical. We knew this was going to be a tough game,” said River Ridge coach Steve Schultz, whose team scored 22 points in the final nine minutes.
“We told our kids not to get frustrated (at the half) when we were down. They are so used to being explosive and it just wasn’t there early on. We just told them to keep executing and it would eventually come around.”
And it did in a barrage of scores in the final quarter, starting with Dorfner, who scored on a 6-yard run with just over eight minutes to play to put River Ridge ahead for good. The senior finished with 101 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Braverman added a 52-yard scoring scamper with 4 1/2 minutes left to go along with five catches for 93 yards and another touchdown.
The Hawks improved to 4-0 on the season and 3-0 in the 2A SPSL South Division.
River Ridge suffered a 16-14 loss to Franklin Pierce in its 2A SPSL debut in 2014. The Hawks haven’t lost a league contest since, stringing together 14 consecutive victories.
In total, River Ridge has won 19 straight regular-season games, and will look to make that 20 next week on the road at winless Highline.
Renton quarterback Royal Dotson-Goode, who entered the game as the South Sound’s top rusher with 878 yards, failed to find much running room in executing the Indians’ read-option attack. He finished with 66 yards on 24 carries.
The majority of Goode’s yards came in the first half; the Hawks held him to 3 yards on nine touches in the second half.
Both teams found the end zone twice in the first half, but a missed PAT was the difference as Renton (1-3, 1-2) headed into intermission with a 14-13 lead.
The Hawks looked sluggish in their first two offensive series, going three-and-out in their opening possession before Renton’s Kayee Song returned a Sanders’ interception 15 yards for a TD on River Ridge’s second series.
River Ridge, however, needed 38 seconds to counter as Sanders made amends by guiding his squad down the field for the equalizer, which came when he hit Braverman on a 24-yard scoring strike.
The Indians, benefiting from a short field thanks to a botched Hawks punt, reclaimed the lead on a Dotson-Goode 21-yard TD run with 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the second quarter.
Sanders tossed his second touchdown pass, an 11-yarder to Zach Carter, two minutes later, pulling River Ridge within a point.
River Ridge 35, Renton 14
NO. 4 RIVER RIDGE
Ren – Kayee Song 15 interception return (kick good)
RR – Josh Braverman 24 pass from Kelle Sanders (Matthew O’Leary kick)
Ren – Royal Dotson-Goode 21 run (kick good)
RR – Zach Carter 11 pass from Sanders (pass failed)
RR – Trey Dorfner 6 run (Dorfner run)
RR – Braverman 52 run (Carter pass from Sanders)
RR – Maleko Mina 6 run (kick failed)