Riverview (7-2) is coming off of a pointless 63-0 victory over hapless Summit Academy while Melvindale (7-2) took a beating at the hands of powerful Taylor Truman 58-28. These two teams last met in 2001 when the Pirates won 38-33. These teams have met thirteen times with Riverview winning eleven including six straight over a five year period that started in 1997.
Riverview is led offensively by the RB combination of Josh Smith and Marcus Samuels. Both of them have blazing speed and have combined for 2,400 yards and 39 TD's. Junior Drew Kroll is an opportunistic QB who has thrown 7 TD passes with 4 of them going to junior wideout Nolan Glime. The Pirates have rarely turned the ball over since their week 2 meltdown against Milan when they turned it over 4 times.
Defensively, Riverview has struggled with anyone that has had a offensive pulse this year. They managed to begin and end the season with shut out victories over bad opponents but the good teams on the schedule have been able to score virtually at will on the Pirates. Senior LB Jake Walsh leads the defense in tackles while DE Jake Mazer and speedy DB Trevor Boike are solid as well.
Melvindale finished the season in three way tie for 2nd place in the Downriver League. The Cardinals opened the season with an impressive 40-13 win over 7-2 Allen Park and surprised many by giving undefeated Wyandotte their best test of the season in a 17-10 loss to the Bears.
Offensively, the Cardinals are averaging 33 ppg and are led by QB Jason Doyle who has thrown for over 1,400 yards and 19 TD's. His main targets are Malik Boynton and KC Clark. The two have combined for over 60 catches and 13 TD's through the air. Quincy Gibbs leads the running game with over 800 yards rushing and 9 TD's.
Defensively, the Cardinals give up just 16 ppg but gave up a whopping 58 points to Taylor Truman last week. The defense is led by LB and senior captain Ben Konarski along with DL Roderick Tubbs. Melvindale's overall team speed on defense may be the best that Riverview has seen all year.
This game features two of the best players in all of the Downriver area with Riverview's Smith and Melvindale's Boynton. This game could end up being a track meet with the first one to 50 winning the game. The legendary Bear Bryant was quoted a long time ago as saying that offense fills the seats while defense wins championships. This week I am going with the team that has the better defense. Pick: Melvindale 44 Riverview 42