Johnny Ryder had two scores for the Lions midway through the third quarter, but it wasn’t enough to get the win as Granger fell to Rio Vista 35-14 in their road opener Friday night.
It was evident even from the start of the game that the Lions seemed a bit rattled, perhaps from the long drive up north to play the Eagles. Rio Vista on the other hand looked crisp and clean in their opening drive, but it eventually stalled as well.
Scoreless midway through the opening quarter Rio Vista blocked a Granger punt giving them great field position and setting the Eagles up for the score at the 4:19 mark of the opening frame.
Trailing for the first time in the young season seemed to rattle the Lions a bit more as Rio Vista again found the end zone with 10 seconds remaining in the first, taking a 13-0 lead.
When the Eagles got the ball again, they continued to look smooth, but the drive fell short on a missed field goal.
After another stalled Lions drive, the Eagles again took full advantage finding paydirt and extending their lead to 20-0.
With 2:41 remaining in the half the Lions, courtesy of Ryder, finally broke down the goose egg on the scoreboard, a blocked extra point sent the game to the break with Granger trailing 20-6.
Rio Vista got the ball to start the second half, that’s when the winds picked up as to signal the rains that were on their way. Granger then took over and after Donnie Cantwell pushed the Lions down to the Rio Vista five-yard line, Ryder found the end zone for the second time., trimming the Eagles lead to 20-14.
In the third quarter the rains came.
With 2:28 remaining in the third the Eagles once again found paydirt, and nearly a minute later sealed the win taking a commanding 35-14 lead.
The Lions rushing game was nonexistent, as they were held to negative yards for the game at -10. Granger also turned the ball over twice in the contest.
The Lions 154 yards of total offense wasn’t enough to overpower the Eagles as they racked up nearly 400 yards.
Thomas Rhoades was 10 for 20 passing with 164 yards. Johnny Ryder had 5 catches and topped the century mark at 100 yards.
Cantwell was the team’s leading rusher with a meager 7 yards on 8 carries. Ryder and LB Tripp Wilkie led Granger with 5 tackles each.
The Lions return home next Friday night to welcome the Frost Polar Bears.