Riverview keeps rolling in rout of Carlynton

Saturday, September 2, 2023 | 6:54 PM

Turning a program around is never easy, but those who pull it off usually lean on the fundamentals. Blocking, tackling and winning the line of scrimmage.

On a picture-perfect Saturday afternoon, that is exactly what Riverview did on its way to a 42-0 win over Carlynton in a Class A nonsection game at Riverside Park in Oakmont.

The win improves the Raiders to 2-0 overall and marks the first time the team has started 2-0 since 2011.

“Kudos to our kids up front and kudos to our line coach, (Mark) Jones,” Riverview coach Trevor George said. “He coached here in the ’90s, and he brings a lot of that mentality back. He’s a leader of men, and he does a great job.”

Senior Tyler Green, juniors Cam Long and Drew Ogrodowski and sophomores Addison Pascal and Jack Reynolds allowed Riverview running backs to run through gaping holes time after time.

“It’s a lot of hard work going into those runs, but I can’t do any of it without my line,” Raiders senior running back Carlo Buzzatto said. “Those are my number one guys.”

Riverview churned out 328 yards on the ground, led by Buzzatto’s 153 yards on 19 carries. Fellow senior Landon Johnson rushed for 126 yards on 18 carries.

The flip side was the Carlynton running game, which was nonexistent.

A week after rushing for 115 yards in a win over Carrick, Cougars running back Ryan Lewis rushed for 6 yards as Carlynton ended up with -32 yards on the ground.

“There are high expectations,” George said. “There were high expectations last year as well. We saw that we had a lot of talent that was young, especially the first two years here when they got a lot of playing time. We knew it was a matter of time.”

Riverview took the opening kick and drove 64 yards on 11 plays, capping the impressive opening drive with a 1-yard scoring run by senior quarterback Rocco Cecere.

Following a Carlynton turnover, the Raiders used five plays to go 27 yards and increase their lead on a Johnson 1-yard run.

Buzzatto scored the first of his two touchdowns in the second quarter on a 9-yard run.

“We work really hard and focus on going hard the whole game,” he said. “We know this year we have the ability to take it as far as we want to, and as long as we keep working hard and stay locked in, I have no doubt in my team that we can do that.”

Buzzatto also scored on a 27-yard run in the third quarter that kicked the game into the mercy rule.

The highlight of a 32-point first half for the Raiders was not on the ground but rather the final play of the second quarter when Cecere hit sophomore Rio Stotts on a pass down the left sideline for a 34-yard scoring play.

Junior Drew Hunter kicked a pair of field goals to complete a dominant performance.

“We’ve been working on this for a long time now,” Buzzatto said. “We knew what we had to do to get the job done. It’s strictly business.”

Carlynton was led by junior quarterback Devonte Dean, who threw for 100 yards. The Cougars fell to 1-1 on the season.

Riverview has one more tune-up next week at Northgate before heading into their Eastern Conference schedule.

“We were looking for a senior class to lead the way, and this senior class is filled with phenomenal leaders,” George said. “On the field and off the field, you have to meet the expectations of the program.

“Last year’s seniors did a great job, but there were only four of them. This year, our leadership has been buying into the culture. Our senior class has seen it all. They’ve seen a winless season and they’ve seen the progression and, thankfully, they trust the process and the culture we brought in.”

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