Saturday will not be just about football. It will be the perfect example of a backyard brawl.
Jesuit versus Rio Americano has been a rivalry for decades, simply on the basis of vicinity. From football field to football field, the walk only takes about ten minutes.
Rio kids grow up with Jesuit kids in school, sports and other activities, and this makes the competitions far from friendly.
Tommy Knapp, a sophomore on varsity football, is more than excited for the game. “I get to hit those kids I grew up with.”
With that mentality, the Raiders should have a chance at repeating their defense of home turf. Anyone at Rio two years ago remembers the thrilling overtime win after an astonishing comeback.
The fans stormed the field and are ready for this years version of the neighborhood showdown. Junior Kieran Taylor is “ready to scream with my friends” and junior Yeagee Jung is going to “cheer on (Rio) with everyone else.”
The Raiders want to rebound from their disappointing loss to Casa Roble (28-20) with a win that would eliminate all doubt surrounding the 33-man roster. According to players, there are positives to take out of the loss.
“We threw the ball well, our receivers did their part, and the D came up with some key stops,” said Knapp.
The offense showed that they could move down the field with quarterback Mark Lyon throwing for 228 yards on 15 of 33 throwing (MaxPreps). He led the team during the fourth-quarter comeback that was ended with an untimely interception, his only of the game.
Five different receivers caught passes, including a 42-yard touchdown for senior Zack Suarez. Lyon’s second score came on a lobbed pass to the corner of the endzone, where senior Guillermo Salazar came down for the 18-yard touchdown catch.
The other six Raider points came on a Matt Laffey kick-return touchdown that had the Rowdy Raiders roaring and senior Scotty Coyle doing push-ups to celebrate.
Evidently, there are positives to be taken from the loss, but losing cannot even be an option on Saturday. The stands will be full of hopeful fans decked out in Green and Gold, chanting with the Rowdy Raiders, and screaming until they cannot scream anymore.
The players are confident that they can please the hungry crowds on Saturday. When asked if he thought they would beat Jesuit, Knapp replied within a split-second, with an assured “yeah.”