SPALDING, Neb. — Riverside couldn't have asked for a more thrilling start to their 2022 season, securing a 27-26 win over Summerland on a game-winning touchdown and extra point.
What makes this victory even sweeter is recognizing that it was Drew Carraher's debut at quarterback.
"I just knew I was going to be nervous," said Carraher. "After that first drive, I was ok."
The sophomore QB was better than "ok" by the Chargers' second drive as he marched the offense down the field to tie the game.
"I just knew I had to have faith in my team, my line," said Carraher. "Everybody else just proved that to me."
As he continued to get settled in under center, Carraher quickly identified a favorite target in tight end Klayton Kleffner.
"I know he's extremely fast," said Carraher. "If he did track, he'd be probably a pretty good sprinter. I just knew that he was going to be open based on his speed. Throughout practice, we were able to hit him pretty well."
The duo connected for Riverside's second touchdown of the game on top of a couple other big plays in key moment.s
But with the game on the line late in the 4th quarter, Carraher looked to a different teammate, Luke Schmeits, to make the play.
"I was looking at Klayton there at the beginning," said Carraher. "I saw the whole defense flowing over. I knew I had a receiver doing a post on the other side. Hit him, wide open."
"Luke has been looking good in practice the last week or so," said Riverside head coach Cory Valasek. "He's been rotating at receiver. That was actually our slotback there. He hadn't played any slotback at all, but since he'd been looking good at receiver, I told him to go in. They sold out for Klayton and Luke was wide open and did his job."
With a successful PAT, Carraher led Riverside to victory, scoring three of the Chargers' four touchdowns.
"Drew played a heck of a game," said Valasek. "He missed a couple early, but he didn't let that get him down. He made the plays he needed to down the stretch. He ran our offense awful well."
This is only the beginning for Carraher, who has one main goal in mind this season.
"Hopefully make it Lincoln," said Carraher.