Riverview Football passes Dearborn Divine Child in season opener with PHOTO GALLERY – The News Herald

The 2022 Michigan high school football season made its highly anticipated statewide debut on Thursday. Among the most interesting opening week matchups was a non-league battle between Dearborn Divine Child and Riverview.

Riverview Football Photo Gallery at Dearborn Divine Child

The two teams met in Week 1 a season ago with Riverview winning a savage shootout 64-42 at home.

Not as many points were scored as the first round between these two teams, but the result remained the same. A tiebreaker score plus a fourth save proved to be the difference in a 34-28 road win for the Pirates over the host Falcons.

“To be honest, it was a really good battle,” said Riverview coach Derek McLaughlin. “Divine Child is a great team and a great program, it was just a great high school football game. Hats off to them, they played a hell of a game. They have warriors on their team.”

Early in the game, it looked like Riverview were going to score early and often and deliver a lopsided result. After amassing just one first down on their first down, the Bucs opened up a 14-0 lead with touchdowns on consecutive possessions.

Alex Muller – For MediaNews Group

Divine Child quarterback Robert Lalain is looking for an open receiver on Thursday night with Riverview’s Chase Begeman putting pressure on. Lalain scored four touchdowns, but the Falcons eventually fell 34-28. (Alex Muller – For MediaNews Group)

The Riverview defense was also doing its job early on. The Bucs forced Divine Child to three-and-out on his first two drives before pulling out quarterback Robert LaLain on the Falcons’ third possession, turning it into their second score.

But Divine Child reacted strongly in the second quarter. The hosts went 21 unanswered points in the space of around eight minutes. The second scored drive came after recovering an onside kick, while the third was a byproduct of the interception by Bucs signalman Lucas Thompson.

The Falcons ended the first half on a high by knocking out Thompson a second time as the Bucs were just outside the red zone in the final minute of play, preserving a one-point lead before the intermission.

“Our guys struggled through adversity early in the first half,” Divine Child first-year coach Chris Laney said. “The kids did a great job of fighting back.

“I thought we played four quarters of football and that’s all you can ask for,” Laney added. “I told them to keep their heads up. It’s a long season, we have eight more to go.”

Riverview scored the lone touchdown in the third quarter, but a missed two-point try put Divine Child in the lead at 21-20. The Falcons later in the frame missed a 35-yard field goal attempt on the left.

The Bucs finally regained the lead early in the fourth, thanks to their fourth of five rushing touchdowns. Coupled with a successful two-point conversion, that gave the visitors a 28-21 lead.

Divine Child had a quick response on the practice that followed, led by senior quarterback LaLain and his fourth touchdown of the night. A hook-and-ladder play to Tyler Traub on the sidelines for 50 yards and the score tied it again at 28-all with 9:38 left in the game.

It was more than enough time for Riverview to step onto the pitch in the ensuing practice, clear the clock and see Anthony Bowman hit it for the eventual game winner with 4:30 to go.

“We have a sophomore quarterback making his first college start,” McLaughlin said. “We knew he would be nervous and make mistakes, but you just have to keep fighting. I liked how we were able to run the ball late and seal the game.”

Divine gave a last sigh.

After converting a 4th-and-20 from their own 42-yard line, the Falcons managed to enter the red zone with less than two minutes remaining. Divine Child again set up with a fourth down, but it was Bowman who knocked out LaLain to seal the victory for Riverview.

“We had to make some changes,” McLaughlin said, speaking of the defensive adjustments made. “Our guys were overthinking a bit. So we put our guys in more aggressive positions. Fortunately, we were able to get sacks at the end and prevent Divine Child from moving the ball. It’s a game of adjustments.”

Max Lockhart and Ian Adams each had two quick touchdowns for Riverview. Meanwhile, for Divine Child, LaLain himself had two touchdowns on the ground and two more through the air; the other coming in the first half to Liam Young in addition to connecting with Traub.

Laney is in his first year as Falcons head coach, but he’s no stranger to the program, having spent the last 10 seasons on the football team. Although familiarity helps, he will no doubt rely heavily on the upper classes at the start of the season.

“It’s a tight-knit group,” Laney said. “They’ve been through a lot here, with the Covid pandemic and now a coaching change. It’s been a lot for them but they’ve bonded really well over the summer. They’ve all been great leaders.”

Both teams will return to action on Thursday, September 1. Riverview will host its home and Huron League opener against Monroe Jefferson at 7 p.m. Cranbrook-Kingswood at 5 p.m.

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