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Football

Defense dominant in RB victory

RIVERSIDE – Stuck in an hour-plus lightning delay after enduring a 59-yard drive by Morton to start the game, Riverside Brookfield had to regroup.

The Bulldogs took advantage of the delay, making adjustments defensively that resulted in a 22-0 victory in the season opener Friday.

Playing without starting quarterback Anthony Stanciu, the Mustangs went with a run-heavy offense, which seemed to catch RB off guard on the first drive. The Mustangs marched for 59 yards on that drive, but the lightning delay hit with 4:00 left in the first quarter.

“The first drive they had some big plays on us and [with the delay] we got to go over our schemes and go over how to stop that,” RB linebacker Jordan Petronella said. “It benefited us in the long run.”

RB finally broke the scoreless start with a 36-yard field goal from senior Nick Fucinato with 5:29 left in the second quarter. Fucinato, in his first season playing football, added a 37-yard field goal in the third quarter to double the lead. He made it 3-for-3 with a 26-yarder on the first play of the fourth quarter.

“I had more nerves on the kickoff, but when the field goal came I knew I was confident,” Fucinato said.

Brian Kulaga ran in touchdowns of one and two yards to add to the lead in the fourth quarter. The defense held on for RB’s first shutout since 2011.

“The thing about this team is they never get too low and they never get too high,” RB coach Brendan Curtin said. “They have a professional demeanor about them. They knew they had a job to do and they did it well for the most part.”

The Bulldogs’ season opener last year at St. Francis was postponed twice before being played on Sunday. Despite other postponements in the western suburbs, RB and Morton were able to get the game in on Friday.

When the teams returned from the delay, RB’s defense stood out. Petronella explained the unit’s nickname is “the dark side” and they lived up to the menacing moniker.

“We always try to play within the rules, but hit hard,” Petronella said. “That intensity kept throughout the game.”

Game breakdown

RB 22, Morton 0

Bulldogs leaders

Passing: Ryan Swift 10-for-18, 90 yards

Rushing: Brian Kulaga 16-110, 2 TDs; Matt Chapp 15-74

Receiving: Dean Zigulich 5-34; Kulaga 2-30; Chapp 3-26

Week 2 matchup

Who: Riverside Brookfield at Nazareth

When: Saturday 1:30 p.m.

Where: Spirit Field, 1209 W. Ogden Ave., La Grange Park

Records: RB 1-0, Nazareth 1-0

Outlook: RB won its opener via a shutout, but Nazareth obliterated Bloomington to start the season. The Roadrunners won 42-7 after leading 30-0 after just a quarter of play. The talented Naz team has high expectations this season and has dominated RB in recent years.

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