It was speed versus power at a rainy Fife Memorial Stadium on Friday night. And in a highly anticipated battle for control of the 2A SPSL, the speed of the River Ridge Hawks proved too much for the Fife Trojans to keep up with.
River Ridge earned a 38-21 victory, improving to 7-1 and, most importantly, guaranteeing a spot in the state playoffs. Fife, meanwhile, fell to 5-3 on the season.
Senior running back Michael Key got things started for the Hawks, scoring on touchdowns of two and three yards in the first quarter to give River Ridge a lead the team would never surrender. Later, senior receiver Senior running back Michael Key put the game away with back-to-back touchdowns in the third quarter, including a 73-yard reverse play to seal the victory. Leiba finished with eight carries for 138 yards on the night, while Key added 112 yards on 24 carries. Kobe Key, Michael Key’s brother, finished 7 for 12 passing with 136 yards.
The win served as a statement, River Ridge coach Steve Schultz said, coming against a Fife squad that’s as tough as any his team has faced this year.
“We just came up here to a tough place and won a big football game, and that puts us in a good position,” Schultz said. “All respect goes to Fife. They’re a tough team. … But we have a pretty tough team too, and I’m proud of our guys for coming up here and getting the win.”
Despite the loss, the Trojans still have a chance to earn a playoff berth for the first time since 2007. In a game marred by sloppy weather, and at times sloppy play, Fife coach Kent Nevin said the difference came down to execution.
“It’s the mental mistakes that killed us. Those are the things that eat you up as a program, and they did tonight,” Nevin said. “They’re a great program. I think we’re a great program. Tonight, they were the better team.”
Fife’s Tanner Knapp led the Trojans in rushing, gaining more than 100 yards on the ground and scoring two touchdowns. The Trojans will face Clover Park next week with a trip to the playoffs on the line.