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By Ryan Dunn

Contributing writer

On a balmy autumn evening in Thornton, the Riverdale Ridge Ravens high school football team lost 44-7 at home to the Discovery Canyon High School Thunder Oct. 29. The loss drops the Ravens to 1-3 on the season. 

The game, played in an empty stadium due to Adams County coronavirus precautions, got off to an unassuming start, with the teams deadlocked at 0-0 through the first frame as both offenses struggled to find their footing in the early goings. 

It didn’t take long for Discovery Canyon to get on the board in the second quarter, however, as sophomore running back Ethan Emmons tore off a 50-yard run on the first play of the frame to give the Thunder a 7-0 lead. 

An interception a few plays later gave Discovery Canyon the ball on the Ravens’ 33-yard line, and a short run up the middle by Thunder fullback Dylan Ruane extended the visitors’ lead to 14-0. 

Ruane energized Discovery Canyon’s next drive with a long run that set up first and goal from the 10-yard line, but Riverdale Ridge showed some fortitude defensively and only surrendered a field goal. 

Nevertheless, any momentum the Ravens gained from the stop was short-lived. A fumble on the ensuing kick return gave the Thunder the ball at the Ravens’ 29-yard line. Emmons turned the corner on a sweep to the left side a few plays later, bringing the score to 23-0 after a botched extra-point attempt. 

The storm was not yet weathered for the Ravens. Their next drive ended on a strip-sack deep in Riverdale Ridge territory, giving Discovery Canyon the ball with just four yards to the end zone. Thunder quarterback Trevin Alessio scored on a dive up the middle to bring up a 30-0 Discovery Canyon lead at halftime. 

A long pass by Alessio to junior Justin Pruitt to start the second half set up another Discovery Canyon touchdown, as Alessio ran a quarterback sweep a few plays later that increased the Thunder’s lead to 37 unanswered points. On their next drive, Emmons scored the final Thunder touchdown of the night on a counter run that made the score 44-0 and invoked the CHSAA running-clock mercy rule. 

Reserves for both teams played most of the fourth quarter. Riverdale Ridge was finally able to break the shutout when backup quarterback Nate Bishop threw a short touchdown pass over the middle with about a minute to go in the contest. The 44-7 victory moves the Discovery Canyon Thunder to 2-2 on the season.  

Riverdale Ridge head coach Wayne Voorhees said that the game was an opportunity for his young team to grow but that the squad would need to change their mindset going forward. 

“We’ve just got to change our mindset,” said Voorhees. “We had too many errors, and we don’t let things go. And so we let a missed play or two turn into a bigger thing, and now we have to punt or now we give up a touchdown. Just magnifies itself. We’ve got a lot of young kids playing right now, and they’re getting experience and they’re doing good things that will help us in the long run.”

The Riverdale Ridge Ravens next game is at Mitchell High School at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6.