High school game preview (NB): Will Riverview’s ‘Royal’ Flush of receivers be enough to beat Purple Knights

Riverview Royals vs. Moncton High Purple Knights

Friday, Sept. 29th @ 7:00pm, Rocky Stone

 

 

New Brunswick’s main event this Friday features the 3-0 Riverview Royals (RHS) and the 2-1 Moncton High Purple Knights squaring off at Moncton’s Rocky Stone Field.

The Pedicodiac, a tidal river that fills and empties daily from the Bay of Fundy is all that divides these two cities. Despite bridges connecting the two cities, those who live on either side of the river know much more than the brown river separates these communities.

The rivalry is a classic tale of the “wrong side of the tracks”, each side believing their side of the ‘river bank’ is supreme. The original Moncton High is located in the city’s core, a rough blue collar area with a reputation of being one of the wrong ends of town. While Riverview offers respite from the hectic pace of Moncton, the provinces largest city.  The illusion of such a drastically different community has prompted many to lovingly refer to the city as – “snob hill”.

Each time these teams square off it’s a gridiron rumble, but unlike S.E Hintons, ‘The Outiders’, no preps or greasers will be packing switchblades, just a battle of X’s and O’s and future bragging rights of which town reigns supreme until these two teams throw down.

This game for the fans is a glimpse at RHS, a team which has quietly moved into a tie at first with the leagues only other 3-0 team, TRHS Titans.  Thus far the Royals have beat: Leo Hayes (0-3) Bernice McNaughton (0-3) and a tough and physical (2-1) L’Odysee. Aside from the swarms of purple and red, I would assume the entire Titan squad will be in attendance to also see the Royals up close.

With playoffs three weeks away, this game may indicate who will be in the best position to take on the Titans.

MHS, QB Chris Cameron-Kogler is treating this game the same as any other despite these implications the intelligent seventeen year old is no doubt aware of.

“We’re going to watch film all week and see what their tendencies are. We have to play like any other game and then focus on and stick to our game plan. We have to trust our coach and the plays drawn up for us,” the young pivot said.

A student of the game, Kogler has been assessing the tape on Riverview to find any chinks in their armour, thus far he’s coming away unsure if such a thing exists.

“I haven’t picked up anything yet as to where they’re weaker or more vulnerable, I know a few of their players and what their skills are like.”

One of the players Kogler is referring to is the Royals stand out, DE Aidan Steves. Steves, a senior, is argued by some as the provinces best defensive player. To keep his fans convinced, Steves will have to go toe to toe with a fast and physical Knights O-line, and then defuse the back field chaos of a precisely executed Wing-T offence.

Asked if the Knights will game plan by staying away from Steves, Kogler assured me that was never a consideration.

“Our O line is pretty good this year, I think they’ll be able to handle anything thrown at them. I’ve heard Steves wreaks havoc on teams, we’ll make adjustments around him, but we’re definitely not running, or shying away from him,” explained Kogler.

Steves aside, the Knights realize they are accounting for a unit that has only allowed sixteen points in three games.  ‘Wreaking havoc’ next to Steves are Jake McAdam, Jordan Olscamp and Liam Dolan. Their MLB is a beast of a player Brennen Donovan with the teams heavy hitter Jordan McPhee at safety.

Although only starting last year, Kogler has taken reps as the teams back up QB since grade nine, giving him ample time to master the offence, and is confident, that with proper execution the Knights will be able to outwit and outplay the Royals defence.

“I’ve grown used to it the past four years, there’s so many things going on all over the field, that teams underestimate it all the time, so do we,” reflected Kogler, “It’s an old school offence that isn’t too fancy”.

Some argue this style of offence is obsolete in this era of pass dominant teams, but the Knights understand how explosive their system is. In their game against the FHS Kats, Kogler ran in 4 touchdowns, all off of misdirection plays. Kogler has perfected the systems minute details that force defenders to play honest, or get burned. His attention to detail, especially his follow thru on his fake assignments have helped him become teams leading rusher, with 7 TD’s on the season.

Although they don’t pass much, when they need to, Kogler is a disciplined pocket passer, often connecting with his TE, Brady Saunders, a target Kogler describes as being “a big kid, who just gets things done”.

To beat the Royals, the Knights will need to find a way to slow down a Royals offence that has scored 86 points in three games, most of which thru the air.  Royals sophomore QB, Logan Grossman, has been picking apart defences with his arm, and a stacked deck of receivers shuffled all over the field.

With the Titans and week five around the corner, it’s easy for a young QB to lose focus on the task at hand, but rest assured, Grossman is healthy and dialed in on the Knights, aware this will be their toughest game yet.

“Moncton High is a well coached team, this is obviously a tough game, but we’re prepared to battle. They’re the biggest challenge of the season so far, so we have to bring all of it out, we have to execute to win against a team like this,” commented Grossman.

In watching the tape on MHS, Grossman has become impressed with the Knights, specifically his friend Chris Cameron-Kogler.

“I’ve been battling against Chris my whole life, he’s a great athlete; but, I know our D is prepared to take them on. We’ve learned a lot about them, they run a unique offence and defence, so we’re making some adjustments to prepare,” he said.

So far this year, the Royals have successfully established their passing game, which has forced teams to adjust their defences, which is when the Royals launch their ground attack. Grossman’s primary receivers are Jackson Green and Cody Barton, which when defences cover with their studs, leaves four more receivers and a QB who can drop the ball all over the field.

Asked how he would account for Knight defensive leaders S Ben George and DB David Daniel Pendelton, Grossman was confident that although difficult, the Royals game plan isn’t changing.

“We’ve got a solid game plan, we have two top receivers in league with Jackson Green and Cody Barton, but we have so many threats besides them. MHS has one of the best pass coverage teams in the league, but with just a couple of guys they can’t handle all our passing threats. Once they see that and try to protect the passing game is when we pound it under with even better running.”

As for his personal safety, Grossmans head will be on a swivel looking for Knight DE Jerome Tshimpanglia, a player who’s tenacity and ability he compares to Aidan Steves. One aspect of Tshimpanglia he must account for is his long reach.

Don’t miss this show down, kick off is 7:00pm at Rocky Stone.

Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

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