Prep football: Riverton's multifaceted rushing attack bowls over defenses

Published November 7, 2013 2:34 pm
Prep football • The Silverwolves will try to end an eight-game losing streak to Bingham.
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Riverton • The field's a mess – once pristine green grass is a gnarled mess, chewed up over 15 weeks by Riverton players honing their up-tempo wing-T offense.

It seems a sufficient metaphor for how opposing defenses must feel after trying to stunt the Silverwolves' running attack — a shell game of fake handoffs and misdirection that chews up sod as easily as it does defensive fronts.

This Riverton team, which will attempt to reach the Class 5A semifinals for the first time in school history Friday when it faces top-ranked Bingham, has raised the bar for efficiency and success in coach Mike Miller's offense.

Two backs — juniors Cameron Christensen and Paden Cayias — are knocking on the door of 1,000-yard seasons, and the Silverwolves have rushed for 46 touchdowns in 10 games. They are just two of four backs who have torn up the turf for more than 500 yards this season.

"We all work as a team," said Cayias, who has 10 TDs and more than 800 yards rushing. "None of us really do it for ourselves. We came together as a team in the offseason, and our linemen are very good. Being a good team and having a good coaching staff is a big part of that."

To call the system a shell game isn't to imply it's a gimmick or a sham. Riverton's scheme is legit and relies heavily on deception to make up for its lack of size. Miller said the philosophy is that one good fake is the same as making three blocks.

The wing-T is all Christensen knows, having run the offense since he first started playing in Riverton's youth program. He has taken his share of hits while executing fake dives.

"None of us take a play off, whether we get the ball or not," said Christensen, probably the team's most talented tailback with more than 900 yards and 11 total touchdowns this season. "We go 100 percent on fakes and blocking. And our linemen are always hustling and making the block."

Christensen broke two long plays in the Silverwolves' opening-round victory against Northridge. The first was a 65-yard touchdown catch — yes, the Silverwolves occasionally do throw the ball — and a 31-yard sweep up the middle that put Riverton (8-2) ahead to stay.

Cayias, who runs much bigger than his 5-foot-6 frame indicates, also scored twice against the Knights to help Riverton win a playoff game for just the second time in school history.

Christensen said this year's success is due to the unselfish, team-first attitude that permeates the roster. They are reminded every time they break a huddle at practice, which ends with the chant, "One, two, three, I love you."

"This team is a family," Christensen said. "If we're doing all our jobs 100 percent, we can beat anyone. We go out and fight on every play."

Added Miller: "I tell them my job is to love them, their job is to love each other."

Now can they spread the love into South Jordan on Friday? Riverton, the team that scored 71 points against Lehi last month, will try to end an eight-game losing streak to Bingham (11-0), and land an elusive spot in the final four.

Riverton last beat the Miners in 2003. At least the teams won't have to deal with a playing surface that has been tilled daily by dozens of pairs of cleats.

"We've had our moments against them, but we haven't put together an all-around good game against them," Miller said. "I hope this year, with the way we're executing, that things go well." —

Wing-ing it

• Riverton's Wing-T offense is averaging more than 400 yards rushing per game this season.

• Junior tailbacks Cameron Christensen and Paden Cayias has combined for more than 1,700 yards and 21 total touchdowns this season.

• Friday, the Silverwolves will look to end an eight-game losing streak to Bingham and reach the Class 5A semifinals for the first time in school history. —

Playoff schedule

Class 5A

Friday's quarterfinals

3 p.m. • Alta at Lone Peak

4 p.m. • Pleasant Grove at Jordan

5 p.m. • Brighton at Herriman

5 p.m. • Riverton at Bingham

Class 4A

Friday's quarterfinals

3 p.m. • Olympus at Logan

3:30 p.m. • Corner Canyon at East

3:30 p.m. • Sky View at Timpview

4 p.m. • Salem Hills at Woods Cross

Class 3AA

Friday's quarterfinals

4 p.m. • Snow Canyon at Juan Diego

5 p.m. • Cedar City at Dixie

5 p.m. • Desert Hills at Stansbury

5 p.m. • Hurricane at Pine View

Class 3A

Friday's semifinal

at Southern Utah University

4 p.m. • Juab vs. Judge

Saturday's semifinal

at Southern Utah University

4 p.m. • Morgan vs. Manti

Class 2A

Saturday's semifinals

at Southern Utah University

11 a.m. • Grand County vs. North Summit

1:30 p.m. • South Summit vs. Beaver

Class 1A Friday's semifinals

at Southern Utah University

11 a.m. • Diamond Ranch vs. Duchesne

1:30 p.m. • Rich vs. Kanab



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