River Ridge High School started this football season with two seniors on its roster, and plenty of younger players lacking significant varsity experience. Now, the underclassmen are making big plays.
Thursday night at South Sound Stadium in Lacey, junior quarterback Tomasi Manu (three touchdowns) and junior running back Maleko Mina (two) paced the Hawks to a 48-14 win over Clover Park.
“Each week we keep getting better, this team started one senior tonight and the underclassmen are getting better,” River Ridge coach Steve Schultz said. “We are growing up and not being distracted by next year.”
After giving up a score to the Warriors on a 15-yard scamper by Treyvon McDaniel, River Ridge’s offense exploded for 48 unanswered points.
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Senior Jarett Stalcup gave the Hawks an early advantage they never lost on a 62-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Manu added three touchdowns on passes to sophomore Max Eder (19 yards) and junior Ryley Larson (22 yards), and rushed for a 14-yard score.
Manu led the Hawks on the ground with 64 yards on four carries, and finished 3 of 5 passing for 58 yards.
Mina carried the ball 16 times for 62 yards, and scored on rushes of 1 and 15 yards, while junior Brian Melloy added a 9-yard touchdown.
“Our (offensive line) is playing lights out,” Schultz said. “Tomasi is real exciting to watch. It was a good homecoming. Every win gains confidence.”
River Ridge (4-3, 4-2 Class 2A SPSL Sound Division) led 34-6 at the break, and didn’t allow another Clover Park score until the fourth quarter on Daniel Salanoa’s 5-yard run.
“We tackled very well, as Clover Park has some guys that can be very hard to tackle sometimes,” Schultz said. “Our defense swarmed to the ball tonight.”
CP – Treyvon McDaniel 15 run (run failed)
RR – Jarett Stalcup 62 run kick return (Jacob Miller kick)
RR – Maleko Mina 1 run (Miller kick)
RR – Max Eder 19 pass from Tomasi Manu (run failed)
RR – Mina 15 run (Miller kick)
RR – Manu 14 run (Miller kick)
RR – Brian Melloy 9 run (Miller kick)
RR – Ryley Larson 22 pass from Manu (Miller kick)
CP – Daniel Salanoa 5 run (Hector Herrera run)