Second-half surge powers Rivers past Groton

GROTON – The Groton Zebras scored the first touchdown of the game, but the Rivers Red Wings took care of all the scoring from there en route to a 33-7 victory at the Groton School Saturday.

The Red Wings put the game away by scoring touchdowns on each of their first three drives in the second half. They opened with a five-play, 65-yard drive that took just 2:28 off the clock, with only one play not resulting in a first down or touchdown. Jamari Venter (115 all-purpose yards) ran it in from one yard out, and with the extra point, Rivers was up 19-7.

After forcing a Groton three-and-out and a short punt that set them up at the Groton 39, Rivers went to work again, as Justen Voghel (11-of 13, 174 yards) hooked up with wide receiver Azar Swain (124 receiving yards) for a 24-yard touchdown pass, the second of two connections between the two on the day.

Rivers would put the icing on the cake on the first play of the fourth quarter as Venters notched his second rushing touchdown of the game from five yards out.

The Rivers defense ensured that Groton could not climb back into it, holding them to just 16 yards of offense in the second half.

Groton opened the game on fire, rushing for three first downs on their first three plays with three different players. But after gaining 12 yards on the fourth play, Taggart Eymer, the fourth different ball carrier on the drive, had the ball stripped, leading to a Rivers recovery.



The Groton defense forced a three-and-out after the fumble, however, and that led to their only touchdown of the game. Once again, four different Groton players carried the ball, with John Beatty (nine carries, 78 yards; one sack) punctuating the drive with a 25-yard touchdown rush.

Rivers would retaliate on their next possession, with Voghel connecting with Swain for a five-yard touchdown pass on 4th & goal to complete a 10-play, 61-yard drive. Groton blocked the extra point, however, and Rivers trailed 7-6.

Rivers would take the lead for good in the second quarter, needing just two plays to cover 47 yards for the score. Venter scampered in from 19 yards after Voghel found Swain for 28 yards.

Quarterback Arthur Jelin (71 all-purpose yards) and running back Will Richardson (10 carries, 84 yards) played well on offense for Groton (2-3), who will travel to St. Paul’s Saturday for a 3:15 p.m. kickoff.

For more Groton sports coverage, visit TheGrotonLine.com.

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