RIVERTON – The Caney Valley Bullpups went into the second round of district play Friday night undefeated and looking to cement a spot in the playoffs.
They are undefeated no more, falling 36-8 to the Riverton Rams who improve to 6-2 and have only to beat the Baxter Springs Lions Oct. 29 to secure a playoff spot.
“We wanted to make sure we had our destiny in our hands,” Rams head coach Corey White said after the win. “We wanted to win a district game and move on (to the playoffs).
“I’m really pleased with our defense tonight. I’m really pleased with the way we moved the ball.
Move the ball they did, racking up nearly twice as many yards in rushing alone, 265 as the Bullpups had in total offense – 155.
Early on it looked like a game with Riverton’s normally potent rushing game held to just 14 points in the first half – A five yard run by Case Mead late in the first and a 20 yard run by Shiloh Murphy late in the second quarter.
The Bullpups had had several scoring opportunities in the first half but squandered them on fumbles or interceptions, such as the one with just over four seconds left in the half, which was picked off by Chase Meade just a few yard from the end zone.
Riverton was forced to punt on just their first possession of the second half and Caney’s Tim Shamblin busted loose for a 68 yard touchdown return and quarterback Matt Barlow added the two point conversion run to bring the Bullpups within striking distance.
The Ram defense stepped up it’s game, however, and despite over 100 yards in penalties, 67 of them in the second half alone, it was the fourth quarter before the Bullpups could even get a first down.
Riverton added three more scores in the fourth, a 11 yard run by Matt Tyree, another four yard run by Meade and then a 94 yard interception return by Meade with just 1:45 left in the game to put the capper on.
“They’re a good ball club, no if ands or buts about it,” Caney Valley head coach Chris Davis said. “I thought we played a good half with them, we got ourselves back in the ball game.
“But they’re a good ball club or they wouldn’t be where they are.”
Riverton faces Baxter springs in the final round of districts at 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at Baxter. Caney Valley will take on the undefeated Galena Bulldogs at Galena.