It’s this proximity that makes Riverwood and Holy Innocents’ a strong but friendly rivalry.
The Sandy Springs cross-town rivals will get together again on their mutual home field as the Golden Bears play host to the Raiders in the latest edition of the Battle of Raider Drive at Riverwood’s Hoskyn Stadium Friday at 7:30 p.m.
It’s the sixth meeting between the teams, with Holy Innocents’ holding a 3-2 advantage.
The Raiders broke a three-game losing streak to the Golden Bears with a 24-14 victory last year.
“I think it started off as a pretty big rivalry,” Riverwood coach Robert Ingram said. “I think it was a neighborhood rivalry and still is and that’s about the significance of it. We have a lot of kids who live next door to some of their football players. It’s just a little bragging-rights game and it’s a good ballgame, usually.”
Holy Innocents’ coach Ryan Livezey agrees it’s a big game within the Sandy Springs community.
“It’s one of those good rivalries where both teams play hard and kind of get the bragging rights for a year,” Livezey said.
While the game will be played on the Riverwood campus, it can be argued that there is no home-field advantage since Holy Innocents’ also plays its home games at Hoskyn Stadium and will actually be the host this time around – though Riverwood is actually manning the home sidelines.
“I think the programs are at a point now, that we both take a lot of pride in how far we’ve come and where we are as a program and I know that Ryan does a great job over there,” Ingram said. “So, when it comes to these two teams, I don’t think there’s an advantage to playing in the stadium. It’s their home stadium as well.”
Said Livezey, “Any time Riverwood is going to play there, that’s their home field. Our guys being on the visitor side is a little different. But, we’re playing them for the sixth time, so we’re familiar with each other. Coach Ingram does a great job and has really elevated that program and I have a feeling that they’re going to be better than last year.”
Holy Innocents’ (2-0) got its season off to strong start with a 28-14 victory over Lakeside of DeKalb Aug. 23 and then beat Wesleyan 17-14 last Friday.
Riverwood (1-0) began its season with a 30-7 win over Cambridge last Friday.
It will be a battle of teams running the triple option offense, with the Golden Bears facing the task of containing a Riverwood attack that averaged 32 points a game in 2012.
Quarterback Grant Drakeford and running back Tyler Blake lead a productive Raider offensive attack, while safety Kendall Morrison is among the key players on the defensive side.
The Golden Bears have some playmakers that Riverwood will have to contain, including quarterback Luke Wright, running back Clay Pfohl and wide receiver Jack Palmore.