Riddle’s football team took its first snap this season against Hosanna Christian. The Irish will now take their first snap in postseason against the Lions.
The undefeated Hosanna Christian Lions host Riddle in the first round of the Class 1A eight-man playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday in Klamath Falls.
“They’re a good ballclub, you can’t get around that,” Riddle coach Russell Hobson said. “However, with that said we saw them in our jamboree and felt like we could compete with them. We felt that we match up pretty well with them. So that’s what makes us excited.”
The two teams played against each other in the Lowell Jamboree on Aug. 23 and haven’t seen each other since.
“It’ll be interesting to look at improvement 10 weeks later and see who’s improved the most,” Hobson said. Hobson returned to coach football for the Irish this season after a 10-year hiatus.
“The kids have made it a lot of fun for me to do and I’m very proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish,” he said. “I have a really good coaching staff who’s taking a lot of pressure off of me. It’s fun to be on the field and they’re good guys to be on the field with.”
Riddle’s offense has been led by Cameron McMichael, Nate Hopkins and Donovan Hargraves for most of the season, and those three seniors are hoping to have big offensive games for the Irish again this week.
“Whatever they try to take away we have a counter for it,” Hobson said. “If they try to take Nate away than Donovan’s going to have a big night. If they try to take Donovan away then Nate’s going to have a big night. That’s kinda what we do.
“There’s always Cameron, there’s always a passing game. Last game, Colby (Greer) had almost 100 yards receiving.”
Greer had five carries for 16 yards and had four catches for 131 yards and three touchdowns in the 42-14 win over Triad. Greer also had a 32-yard passing TD in the fourth quarter to Hopkins, Greer was 1-for-1 passing the ball. Hopkins rushed the ball 10 times for 70 yards, a rushing touchdown, and he had an interception in that game. McMichael was 6 of 7 passing for 130 yards and three TDs, he ran the ball eight times for 38 yards. Hargraves had 16 carries for 142 yards.
“We have guys who can step up and play well,” Hobson said. “We’re going to trust the team. We’re going to trust the process. We’re going to rely on one another to get through the night.”
In practice, the Irish have been preparing for the Hosanna Christian senior Nick Morris.
“Their center/nose tackle (Morris) is probably one of the more dominant (offensive) linemen/(defensive) linemen in the state,” Hobson said. “He’s tough. He’s pretty much the heart of everything they do. We’ve got to make sure we find ways to contain him so he doesn’t try to wreck our offense.”
Senior quarterback Jacob Moore has also had a good season for the Lions, as well as sophomore running back Christian Coleman.
Riddle will likely dress down 12 players, struggling with injuries since the Oct. 13 game against Camas Valley. The Irish have five seniors on the roster: McMichael, Hopkins, Hargraves, Dylan Hackett and Braden Wilborn.
It’s the first time in 23 years the Irish are returning to postseason play. They’ve played an independent eight-man schedule for the past three years.
Hosanna Christian played in the 1A final last season, losing 60-18 to Dufur. This is the fifth consecutive year the Lions are in the postseason.
The winner of Friday’s game will play the winner of the Pilot Rock/Nixyaawii vs. Adrian/Jordan Valley in the quarterfinals the following week.