This will be the last game like that River Ridge High School will have this season.
The seventh-ranked Hawks (8-1) have an average margin of victory of 29.8 points this season. Their latest win over Lindbergh in a Class 2A district playoff game? That was 46 points.
River Ridge scored nine times at South Sound Stadium routing the Eagles, 59-13, to advance to the state playoffs for the third straight season.
Saturday’s point-total was the highest this season for the Hawks, but coach Steve Schultz made it clear in his postgame chat with his team — it won’t be like that from here on out.
“Every game that you have from now on, you guys have to be focused on and ready to play four quarters against a tough opponent,” Schultz said.
River Ridge will host W.F. West (9-1) in the first round at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Hawks haven’t advanced out of the first round of the state playoffs since 1998.
“We were over there talking about it — we’ve got to get past this next week,” said Kelle Sanders, River Ridge’s quarterback, who also plays defensive end. “We’ve got to break through that barrier. We’re thinking about it, but we’re not thinking about it too much.”
It wasn’t a spotless game — there were some penalties and early slips on defense that need to be cleaned up, Schultz said. But, otherwise, the Hawks rolled.
“You guys did a good job preparing,” Schultz said, addressing his team. “You guys came out and played.”
River Ridge scored on the game’s opening possession, finding the end zone in six plays in less than two minutes. Sanders found Josh Braverman in the flat, who ripped down the left sideline for a 32-yard score.
The Hawks led the rest of the way from there.
The Eagles immediately answered, when Johsiah Serquinia capped a quick drive with a 7-yard touchdown run, but Lindbergh missed the extra-point try.
Serquinia was the only Lindbergh player to score, adding another 4-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.
But River Ridge otherwise silenced Linbergh’s offense — including causing and recovering three fumbles, and forcing the Eagles to turn the ball over on downs twice.
“Most of our players are playing both sides, so we’ve got to stay tuned the whole game,” Sanders said.
The win was cleansing for the Hawks, who lost a thriller to Franklin Pierce, 28-27, last week in the 2A South Puget Sound League title game.
“We were thinking … it’s not going to happen again,” Sanders said, “and we’ve got to come out next weekend and shut this team down. And that’s exactly what we did.”
River Ridge scored on all six of its drives in the first half.
Sanders, a Washington State commit, finished 4 of 6 passing for 117 yards, and had two touchdown passes to Braverman (32 yards) and Ryan Blash (59) in the first quarter.
Trey Dorfner, a Wyoming commit, had touchdown runs of 34 and 13 yards in the first half, and Paddy Green added a 6-yard run.
Matt O’Leary gave the Hawks a 37-6 advantage at the break with a 26-yard field goal.
River Ridge scored three more times in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the second half — all a product of Linbergh fumbles.
Dorfner scored two more times on runs of 12 and 27 yards in the first 30 seconds of the third quarter. He finished with 11 carries for 165 yards and the four touchdowns.
Jordan Skipper-Brown scored his first career touchdown when he corralled the ball after it was stripped from a Lindbergh running back, and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown. That gave River Ridge a 59-6 advantage in the third.
The Hawks finished with 382 yards (250 rushing, 132 passing) of total offense.
“What we did this week is listen to what coach (Jack) Zilla tells us — that we play against our previous best selves,” Sanders said. “We’re playing against ourselves, not against the opponents on the other team.”
Black Hills 35, at Hockinson 12: Make no mistake — the Black Hills coaching staff was thinking about what happened two years ago when it traveled to District Stadium in Battle Ground on Saturday night.
In 2014, in a 2A district playoff game, the Wolves built a 21-0 lead against the Hawks entering the fourth quarter — only to have Hockinson score four unanswered touchdowns to eliminate the Wolves.
Well, Black Hills (6-4) did all it could to erase those bad memories this time around.
“It takes a little bit of the pain away, but it definitely takes the bad taste away,” coach Kirk Stevens said.
Fueled in part by a 28-point second quarter, and four defensive interceptions, the Wolves cruised to a win, advancing to the 2A state playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Zach Loveless opened scoring for the Wolves on a 1-yard run in the first quarter, and Black Hills never trailed.
Quarterback Christian Williams added a 12-yard run in the second before Loveless returned an interception 35 yards for a score.
Kyler Nygren — who finished with 302 yards — rushed four touchdowns of 71 and 9 yards to give the Wolves a 35-6 advantage at halftime.
Black Hills will travel to Lynden (9-1) for the first round.
NO. 7 RIVER RIDGE
RR – Josh Braverman 32 pass from Kelle Sanders (Matt O’Leary kick)
L – Johsiah Serquinia 7 run (kick failed)
RR – Trey Dorfner 34 run (O’Leary kick)
RR – Ryan Blash 59 pass from Sanders (pass failed)
RR – Paddy Green 6 run (O’Leary kick)
RR – Dorfner 13 run (O’Leary kick)
RR – O’Leary 26 field goal
RR – Dorfner 12 run (O’Leary kick)
RR – Dorfner 27 run (O’Leary kick)
RR – Jordan-Skipper Brown 18 fumble recovery (Brayden Anderson pass from Hunter Rutledge)
L – Serquina 4 run (Axel Vazquez kick)
BH – Zach Loveless 1 run (Kimmel kick)
H – Devan Riggs 4 pass from Canon Racanelli (kick failed)
BH – Christian Williams 12 run (Kimmel kick)
BH – Loveless 35 interception return (Kimmel kick)
BH – Kyler Nygren 71 run (Kimmel kick)
BH – Nygren 9 run (Kimmel kick)
H – Matt Henry 6 pass from Racanelli (run failed)