Except for brief appearances at receiver, Riverside’s Jared Butler hasn’t played quarterback since August when he suffered an elbow injury during the Rebels’ scrimmage. Wide receiver Herb McGee, meanwhile, has learned to love playing quarterback in his place.
But Friday night both went back to their normal roles — well, most of the time — and proved to be a dynamic pair, connecting on four touchdowns as the Rebels romped over Newman 41-14 in the District 9-2A opener for both teams.
They still managed to mix things up, though. First, Butler caught a 67-yard pass from McGee in the first quarter. He later threw three touchdowns — one to McGee for 15 yards and two to Jalen Banks, who had his own coming-out party Friday. Banks, who missed all of last year with a knee injury, had two catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Butler finished the night 6 of 14 for 191 yards.
McGee threw two passes for 57 yards and a score. Running back Brandon Sanders added 69 yards on 14 carries, including a pair of touchdowns.
“I loved it,” Butler said of his return to the field. “I loved the mental aspect of it. And just being back on the field is an honor. I just had fun.”
McGee, on the other hand, seemed a little reluctant to give up his spot behind center.
“It was something different,” he said. “It definitely helped the team out. It gave us a different aspect of the game, with me being out on the edge. They had to key on me more and that helped, you saw, Jalen Banks had a big night. Jared did a great job back there. It’s great catching your first touchdown (in your) senior year.”
Riverside coach Bill Stubbs said both players should get used to their dual roles.
“I think with him and Herb going tandem, it’s going to present us with some good opportunities,” Stubbs said. “Herb is a proven winner. You put him back there and Jared right there next to him. These two guys make us go.”
They certainly did Friday.
Riverside got started quickly following a disastrous opening drive by the Greenies (4-1, 0-1). The first snap sailed over the head of quarterback Miles Lapeyre for a 15-yard loss back to the Greenies 5-yard line. On second down, Lapeyre threw from his own end zone right to Riverside’s Cardez Joseph at the 2. It took the Rebels two plays to score, with Sanders getting the call 1:26 into the game.
After a Newman punt, the Rebels began their next drive at their own 3 with McGee at quarterback. He and Sanders got the Rebels to their own 33, then McGee connected with Butler on a 67-yard touchdown pass. Tyler Gauthier’s PAT put Riverside ahead 13-0.
The Riverside defense kept the Greenies stymied most of the night. Newman managed only 76 yards on the ground. That left the burden on Lapeyre, who was 18 of 33 for 233 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. His main receiver was Elbert Thomas, who has 10 catches for 188 yards and both scores.
A Lapeyre interception led to Riverside’s third touchdown and Butler’s first. On third-and-1 at the Newman 15, Butler found McGee on the right side for the touchdown with 8:31 remaining in the half.
The Rebels added one more scoring drive before the half, this one a 75-yard drive with McGee and Butler alternating snaps and occasional handoffs to Sanders. McGee ran for 24 yards on the drive; Butler for 17. But it was Sanders who scored the 17-yard touchdown with 2:03 remaining to give Riverside a 27-0 halftime lead.