“It’s a gut punch”: RV falls to Atlantic City in first round of playoffs

RV losses its first playoff game in four years


Photo courtesy of Twitter

RV lines up prior to its first touchdown in the first quarter against Atlantic City

Aaron Rigby, Sports Editor

The RV Red Devils suffered a tough loss in a close 32-28 game to the Atlantic City Vikings last Friday.

Coming into Friday’s game, RV had won all three of their previous games, which perfectly summed up the teams streaky regular season. The Red Devils won their first three games of the season, lost their next three and finished the season out strong with three straight wins. 

RV’s last win of the season came against Highland, which moved RV up to the fourth seed, putting them in a position to have home turf advantage against AC. 

In the regular season, the Red Devils had a 5-1 home record, and a 1-2 record when playing elsewhere. And although RV was the fourth seed with a better record of 6-3, the Vikings had a better win percentage (86%) with a 6-1 regular season record. AC was also on a win streak coming into the game, winning their last four games. 

RV began the game with possession, but AC gained possession after three minutes of good defense. AC’s first offensive possession of the game ended in a touchdown; senior QB Joseph Lyons handed the ball off to senior RB Allen Packard at the half yard line, Allen broke through the defense for a 100 yard touchdown. After the play, the Vikings decided to go for a 2-point conversion, which was unsuccessful. This was a common occurrence for the Vikings throughout the night, as they did not have any kickers available for the night. They had a 6-0 lead with 8:40 remaining in the first quarter of action. 

A little over three minutes later, the Red Devils responded with a touchdown of their own, as senior QB Jace Deiter handed off to senior RB Jerimya Paula for the touchdown. This play came after a tremendous rushing 29-yard gain by Deiter. This gave RV a 7-6 lead, with 5:19 left in the quarter. 

After two back-to-back scores, both teams were on a quarter-long scoring drought. That was until the Red Devils added six points to the scoreboard off of a handoff from senior QB Kevin Burr to junior RB Malachi Castle. Unfortunately, the extra point field goal attempt was missed by freshman kicker Jameson Hollander. RV still had a 7 point lead, 13-6, with 3:12 remaining in the second quarter. 

The lead didn’t last too long, as the Vikings scored less than two minutes later thanks to a handoff by Lyons to junior RB DeAndre Rooks for a 10-yard touchdown. Lyons then passed for the successful 2-point conversion. AC led 14-13 heading into halftime. 

Similar to their first offensive possession of the first half, the Vikings scored the same way, just this time from kickoff. AC RB Allen Packard once again ran right past the RV defense all the way into the endzone for his second touchdown of the night. However, they missed their 2-point conversion once again, giving the Vikings a seven point lead rather than a nine point lead at 20-13, with 11:40 remaining in Q3. 

Shortly after Atlantic City’s touchdown, Burr handed off to Paula at the 20 yard line, splitting through the defense and hurdling right into the endzone for the touchdown. The game was now tied 20-20 with 6:24 remaining in the third. 

Neither team scored for the remainder of the quarter, and the drought continued into the fourth quarter. It ended however when Burr handed off to Paula, who sped through the defense, juked his defenders and rushed into the endzone for his third touchdown of the night. The touchdown was followed by a successful 2-point conversion by Castle, putting RV up 28-20 with 8:58 left in the final quarter of play. 

Just over two minutes later, Lyons passed from the 55 yard line to sophomore WR Sah’nye Degraffanreidtt, who caught the ball at the 20 yard line. Degraffanreidtt shook off his defender and ran into the endzone for the touchdown, but the Vikings once again couldn’t convert on the 2-point attempt, the Red Devils led 28-26 with 6:09 remaining in the fourth. 

The game was coming down to the wire, and with 50 seconds left, the Vikings had the ball at the 20 yard line. RV’s defense had been able to hold the line, but Atlantic City’s impressive offense and athleticism awarded them a touchdown, as Lyons passed the full 20 yards to Degraffanreidtt, which left the Red Devils with 47 seconds to get all the way down the field to score a touchdown. 

The Vikings led 32-28, and RV was down but not out, as they had one more chance to make a run from the 50-yard line into the endzone. That chance quickly dissipated, as Burr’s pass attempt was intercepted by senior FR Ky Gilliam, which put this game to bed. 

Frustration and disappointment emanated from RV in those final seconds; players were simply stunned at what just happened and how quickly the game just got out of their hands. 

RV congratulated AC on the win, then immediately got into a team huddle and soon walked off into the locker room, many with their heads down, aggravated or disappointed or even in tears. 

“It’s always disappointing when you lose, especially for the amount of work these guys put in dating back to March. It’s a gut punch,” said Head Coach Garrett Lucas. 

It was easy to tell that every single one of the players had sincere emotional investment in the team and genuinely wanted to win. 

“It’s good because you can see who cares and how much they care, but it’s bad because you also never want to see them like that,” Coach Lucas said. 

Although RV lost in the first round of the playoffs, many agree that this season should be considered a success. This was the first time RV finished a season with a winning record in four years. This was also the team’s first playoff appearance since 2019, and it was a good season for coach Lucas, who just began coaching the team this year. 

“I think we accomplished a lot of great things this year, we came in with a new culture and outlook on things,” said Coach Lucas. “I’m proud of them for making the playoffs, the first winning season in multiple years, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, and I’m excited for what’s next.”