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CHIPPEWA TWP., Pa. — Riverside cruised to a 37-7 victory over the Golden Bears of Western Beaver on Friday night for the Panthers’ first win of the season.
The Class 2A Midwestern Conference match-up, played in a neutral site at Blackhawk High School, loomed large for the Panthers if they wanted to avoid an 0-3 start to the 2019 season.
It didn’t come as easy as the final score indicated.
Western Beaver freshman Cam Irvine ran a 39-yard touchdown with 3:04 left in the first quarter to give the Golden Beavers a lead 7-6 and start an upset watch for first-year head coach Derek Moye’s squad.
Riverside followed with a steady diet of Nathan Sciarro. Ben Hughes hit Sciarro for 29 yards late in the first to set up a short Sciarro field goal to give the Panthers the lead early in the second.
With 9:20 left in the first half, Western Beaver quarterback Thad Gray threw a deep ball that was intercepted by Sciarro. The Panthers capped the ensuing drive with an 26-yard touchdown pass from Hughes to Sciarro with 6:10 left in the first half.
In the second half, it was all Riverside as Hunter Nulph bounced a run to the outside and finished with a 24-yard touchdown run with 8:39 left in the third quarter. Nulph added a 2-point conversion.
Hughes connected again with Sciarro late in the third quarter for a 19-yard touchdown and then once more to close out the scoring on a 6-yard fade in the fourth quarter.
Riverside went for the two-point conversion and connected with another powerful run by Nulph. The Panthers took a commanding 24-7 lead.
Western Beaver tried to get things rolling on the offensive end by putting freshman Zander Lefebvre into the game at quarterback to start the second half. The dual threat quarterback picked up a couple first downs for the Golden Beavers. The offensive line couldn’t hold up as Lefebvre was sacked for a loss on a third-and-15 with 6:25 in the third quarter.
Hughes threw for 169 yards on 11 of 23 passing and three touchdowns. Sciarro caught nine of those 11 passes for 155 yards three touchdowns. Nulph ran for 110 yards on 26 carries and two rushing touchdowns for the Panthers.
Riverside (1-2) will travel to Shenango next week while the Golden Beavers (2-2) will play at Mohawk. Both are Midwestern Conference matchups.