CPHS loses first game of year to Rivercrest 28-20
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Aug. 27, 2005 - JOHNTOWN - The 2005 season for the Como-Pickton Eagles started on a rough note Friday night at The Swamp.

After a 60-0 trouncing to open the 2004 season over Bogata Rivercrest, the Eagles fell to Rebels 28-20 in the rematch during Zero Week.

"I knew as soon as I saw the film how good they were going to be," said CPHS coach Joe Ryzman. "They are very big and they are physical, but they don't have a lot of speed except for at the skill positions. They have a good ball team and that is the bottom line and I think they will be the team to beat in their district."

The Eagles (0-1) will host the Celeste Blue Devils, a team in which they beat 43-7 last year, at Heflin Field on Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

The running game seemed to be the main source of offense for both teams in the season opener as Rivercrest running back Bradley Rollen and Como-Pickton's Ray Hayden each had over 200 yards rushing during the game.

Rollen finished with 33 carries for 223 yards and three touchdowns, while Hayden had 20 carries for 214 yards and three touchdowns for the Eagles.

"Ray did well and he showed some flashes tonight, and he is getting better every week," the coach said. "We have got to include some other people in our offensive game plan. He can't be the only player that we depend on during the game."

In 45 plays for the Eagles, 39 were rushing plays for 209 yards, while 45 of the 51 plays the Rebels ran for 264 yards during the game were rushing plays.

Rollen opened up the scoring on their first series of the game as he rolled around the left side of the offensive line for 6 yards and the early lead. The Rebels went for the two-point conversion but the run failed with 9:55 remaining.

Hayden used his state-championship power to tie the game up with a 21-yard scamper two minutes later, but the PAT was missed by Noe Tellez to keep the game at 6-6. Hayden also scored on runs of six and five yards during the game.

With 7:51 remaining in the first half, Rebel quarterback Jake Needham completed a touchdown pass to Destry Nolen from 15 yards out to give Rivercrest a 12-6 lead. Rollen converted the two-point conversion for the 14-6 advantage.

CPHS senior Gerald Pierce recovered a Rivercrest fumble with 4:51 remaining in the second quarter and went 41 yards the other way to get within the Rivercrest 5-yard line, but the play was called back on a penalty for blocking in the back. Pierce also had an interception in his first varsity action.

Late in the first half, senior Brian Hicks sprained his ankle and was on crutches for the second half of the game, and Ryzman said he was not sure what the status of his injury was after the game.

With nine minutes remaining in the game, Hayden had his longest run of the night as he blasted around the right side of the line for 78 yards before he was brought down at the Rivercrest 5-yard line which led to his final touchdown of the game. Tellez missed his second PAT of the game which kept the score tied 20-20.

Rollen put the nail in the coffin with 3:07 remaining in the fourth quarter as he powered his way for 5 yards, and then converted on the two-point conversion for the 28-20 finale.

"Our kids played tough and they played tough for four quarters and I am proud of them for that," Ryzman said. "We made some first week mistakes and we need to correct those mistakes and come back ready to play next week."

Senior Trent Vail went five-for-seven for 23 yards in his first start at quarterback, and also caught a pass from Hayden for five yards in the fourth quarter. Hicks was the leading receiver with one catch for 12 yards, while Tellez had one catch for 11 yards.

Nolen led the way for the Rebels with two catches for 27 yards and a touchdown. Needham rushed for 27 yards on seven carries and finished two-of-seven for 26 yards with an interception and a touchdown.

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