The Erie High School football team accomplished something for the first time since head coach Sterling Hudson took over the program four years ago, starting the season 2-2.
The Red Devils never trailed Friday night at home, defeating Riverton, 44-19.
In the post-game huddle at midfield after the game, Hudson had two words for his players, “Big win.”
Erie received the opening kickoff and marched 67 yards capped by a 9-yard strike from senior signal caller Jaden Gard to senior Beau Kincaid with 7:35 left in the first quarter. Senior Alexis Hernandez booted the PAT to give Erie a 7-0 lead.
Hernandez caught a crucial 19-yard pass from Gard on a crucial third-down play to keep the drive alive at midfield. Freshman Garrett Ruark caught a 25-yard pass from Gard to take the ball to the two on another third-down play. After a penalty on first and goal followed by a two-yard loss, Gard connected with Kincaid.
Riverton answered with an impressive drive of its own, taking the ball 70 yards on 11 plays capped by a 5-yard passing score from sophomore Domanick Rooks to junior Ethan Shawver, but the conversion failed and Erie led 7-6.
After the ensuing kickoff, Erie needed only three plays to find the end zone again as junior Michael Winslow scampered 60 yards to pay dirt and the Red Devils led 14-6.
Erie added three more scores in the second quarter. Senior Jordan Myers raced 37 yards, Gard scored on a one-yard quarterback keeper and Hernandez converted a 28-yard field goal with 3.3 seconds left before the break.
Riverton struck first in the second half, scoring on the first drive after the break when junior Gavin Gilmore punched it into the end zone from a yard out for the only score of the third quarter and the Rams cut the Erie lead to 30-12.
Erie senior Trent Taylor scored his first touchdown of the season on a one-yard plunge with 10:23 left in the game. Gilmore answered with a 63-yard sprint for a score. Gard connected with Myers on a 30-yard strike for the game’s final touchdown.
Gard completed 6-of-10 passes for 122 yards with a pair of touchdowns and no interceptions. He added 57 yards rushing on 13 totes. Gard connected with four different receivers, finding Kincaid three times for 48 yards.
Myers led the Red Devils in rushing with 94 yards on 11 carries closely followed by Winslow with 92 yards on 10 hauls.
Gilmore also had a 31-yard gain on his first carry of the game and was the game’s lone rusher with more than 100 yards on the ground.
Both Gard and Kincaid picked off passes for the Erie defense. Gard’s pick was assisted when Ruark deflected a pass and Gard recorded the interception. That play helped Erie set up for the second quarter field goal.
Erie improves to 2-2 overall and 1-0, +21 in district play. The Red Devils will travel to Humboldt on Friday night, who won 73-0 over Jayhawk-Linn. Riverton continues district play over former CNC foe the Northeast Vikings, who are still winless this season with their loss to Southeast Friday night..