Home Sports Unbelievable Showdown: River vs. Fairfield Christian Academy in Second Round Will Leave You Stunned | Must-See News, Sports, Jobs

Unbelievable Showdown: River vs. Fairfield Christian Academy in Second Round Will Leave You Stunned | Must-See News, Sports, Jobs

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Unbelievable Showdown: River vs. Fairfield Christian Academy in Second Round Will Leave You Stunned | Must-See News, Sports, Jobs

River Pilots Set to Face Fairfield Christian Academy in High-Scoring Playoff Game

HANNIBAL — The upcoming matchup between River High School and Fairfield Christian Academy promises to be an explosive offensive showdown. The River Pilots, averaging 46 points per game, will face the Fairfield Christian Academy Knights, averaging 44 points per game when they win. This is a rematch of last year’s D-VII round two, and the game will take place at FCA’s temporary home turfed field at Berne Union.

Firepower on Both Sides

The Rivermen, with an 8-2 record, opened the playoffs with a dominant 49-21 victory over Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans. The Knights, with a 9-2 record, won a high-scoring 61-54 game against Sciotoville East. Both teams boast explosive playmakers who have been instrumental in their successes.

A Battle of Experience

While Fairfield Christian Academy retains most of their starters from last year, River High School has many new starters. Coach Mike Flannery, in his 21st season at the Pilot helm, emphasizes the need for a clean game with no turnovers or penalties. The Rivermen’s defense will be key in limiting FCA’s offense, which features the quick and talented Danny Blair at running back.

Playmakers to Watch

Danny Blair showcased his skills with a remarkable 464-yard rushing performance during the season, ranking 14th all-time in OHSAA single-game history. He has 18 touchdowns to his credit. Rusty Hutchinson, FCA’s receiver, had an impressive game against East with six touchdowns, including a kick return. River’s Lucas Dennis, a versatile junior, made an impact in all three phases of the game last week, scoring a rushing touchdown, catching a 71-yard pass for a touchdown, and returning an interception for a touchdown.

Keys to Victory

Coach Flannery aims to control the game by establishing the running game, sustaining drives, and limiting FCA’s time of possession. River’s offense, led by senior quarterback Kabel Isaly, has multiple weapons at its disposal, including receivers Maddox Mozena and Finn Bowers. Senior running back Kaden Johnson has been a force with 12 touchdowns and close to 600 rushing yards. The offensive line, anchored by seniors Cooper Cordery, Hunter Nething, Zeke Zola, Matthew Gregg, and sophomore Carter Piatt, will be crucial in creating openings for the backs and protecting Isaly.

A Strong Defensive Unit

River’s defense features familiar faces from last year, along with linebackers Braden Johnson, Parker Bennett, and Wyatt Stalder. Derek Smith, a 6-4, 285-pound nose tackle, anchors the run defense, while Finn Bowers and Kaden Johnson provide pass rush on the edges. The secondary, consisting of Colton Cisar, Lucas Dennis, Kabel Isaly, and Devin McElwain, has playmaking abilities. Kicker Wyatt Majors has been reliable, converting all seven of his opportunities in the previous game.

A Confident Coach

Coach Flannery, who recently achieved his 201st career win, expresses confidence in his team’s abilities and their focus for this important matchup. The Pilots have a chance to repeat last year’s victory over Fairfield Christian Academy and advance to the next round of the playoffs.

River’s victory against Academy last season was a commanding 55-12 triumph. The winner of Friday’s game will face off against the winner between Reedsville Eastern and Monroe Central in the R27 semi-final at a neutral site.

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