RIVERVIEW – A week after their district title hopes were derailed with nine turnovers and a loss against Gaither, the Steinbrenner Warriors are back on track after defeating the Riverview Sharks 53-0.
In the first quarter, Steinbrenner (4-2) wanted to establish the running game early and had no problems against the Riverview (2-4) defense. Junior Kendall Pearcey broke off a 60-yard touchdown rush on the first play of the game, but was called back after a personal foul penalty against the Warriors offensive line. The flag wouldn’t faze them though, as Pearcey and Nick Green helped drive the ball into the red zone, setting up sophomore Curtis Fitch’s pass to AJ Brown for the first touchdown of the night.
The highlight of the first half and the game for the Sharks was when punter Nick Bynum pulled a page out of LSU coach Les Miles’ playbook and faked a punt, running 11 yards for a first down. The Sharks would score a touchdown on the drive with Steven Maines carrying it in, but holding would bring it back forcing Riverview to attempt a 32 yard field goal which was just short.
In the second quarter, the Warriors continued giving the Sharks a heavy dose of rushing as Shyheem Barthel gave the Warriors prime position in Riverview territory. That set up Brian Gainer, who found a hole and took it in for a 43-yard touchdown. Zack Jones pounded in the 2-point-coversion and Steinbrenner took an early two score lead, 14-0.
After a three and out for the Sharks, Bynum could not handle the low snap near his own end zone and the Warriors took advantage with great field position on their own five yard line. Pearcey would waste no time, getting into the end zone and extending the lead.
The Warriors continued to pound away, as Fitch found wide receiver Jon Marc-Carrier twice along the sideline to give Steinbrenner another shot at scoring. He capped it off by finding Pearcey for another touchdown. And the route was on after the Warriors successfully recovered an onside kick and Fitch found a wide open Carrier for a 20-yard touchdown pass.
In the second half, Riverview’s Maines, who had accumulated 46 of the team’s initial 50 first half yards, went down with a leg injury forcing him out of the game. The Sharks running game would not recover the rest of the night as the strong Warriors defensive line stayed in the back field.
The Warriors would keep the scoring going, as both Pearcey and Brown would find big gaps in the Sharks defense, earning a pair of touchdowns. Late in the fourth quarter, Green finished off the game by hauling in a 26-yard touchdown giving the Warriors a 53-0 lead and the win after Gainer gained 30 and an extra 15 thanks to a Sharks personal foul for a horse collar tackle.
After the game, Fitch felt good about his bounce back night.
“It felt great, especially after last week we just try to put everything behind us and just come out here to play out game,” said Fitch who racked up three touchdowns and had a lone interception that bounced off his receiver and into the hands of a waiting defender in the second quarter.
The Warriors have a huge district match-up on tap next Thursday night when Tampa Bay Tech travels to Steinbrenner Memorial Coliseum. Fitch says the team will be ready to play.
“I know our heads will be on straight, unlike they were at Gaither and we’ll just go out there and play our hardest,” said Fitch.
Riverview will host Brandon next week in their final home game of the season.
Jeff Odom / Sports Editor