Hiawatha tops Riverside to win district title

By Phil Ervin The St. Joseph News-Press
Posted: October 20, 2012 - 12:13 AM

Riverside’s welcoming ceremony to the Big 7 conference came a bit early.

Hiawatha’s feature multipurpose back was electric, scoring four touchdowns and helming a dominant first half for the Redhawks in a 40-20, Class 3A District 1 victory over Riverside on Friday at Riverside High School.

In a matchup of teams that transitioned to 3A for the current cycle and will play in the same conference after this year, Hiawatha (6-2, 4-2 Big 7) clinched its second straight playoff berth, while Riverside fell to 0-2 in district play and saw its all-time postseason appearance total remain at one, coming last year in Class 2-1A during the program’s inaugural season.

“It’s always a goal, and it’s always a dream (to make the playoffs),” said Riverside coach Scot Koranda, whose team will join the Big 7 next year. “It’s something you want to shoot for, which we didn’t get that.”

Hiawatha’s first season after dropping from 4A now contains an opportunity for a district championship and homefield advantage during the playoffs’ first round, pending the outcome of the Redhawks’ matchup with Sabetha next Thursday to close the regular season.

Quite a triumph after consecutive losses to Holton and Nemaha Valley squelched momentum going into district play.

“Our team’s smaller now, but it’s mainly family,” Chilcoat said. “We’re really tight. We went on a two-game losing streak and then we got back in and it and got rolling.”

Sabetha beat Horton 35-0 in Friday’s other District 1 matchup, effectively eliminating Riverside and Horton. For the rest of the story click here.

Denzel Chilcoat made sure of it.