St. Francis routs R-B
Rittenhouse tosses six TD passes, three to Bishop
By Steve Metsch
When a quarterback and wide receiver have played football together for 10 years, they develop a special connection. Each seems to instinctively know what the other will do.
St. Francis senior quarterback Tommy Rittenhouse and junior wide receiver Tyler Bishop proved that on April 9.
“We’ve been playing (football together) since I was in second grade, he was in third,” Bishop said. “The connection has always been there.”
Rittenhouse threw three of his career-best six touchdown passes to Bishop, as St. Francis romped 58-7 over host Riverside-Brookfield.
“No doubt, Tommy is the best quarterback in the state this year and last year,” Bishop said. “Tommy all day. What makes him so good is his running ability because you have to account for him on every play.”
Of his three touchdowns, Bishop’s most impressive was a catch deep in the corner of the north end-zone that gave St. Francis a 27-0 lead as time expired in the first quarter.
“Even our offensive coordinator thought our quarterback was throwing it away,” Bishop said. “The defender was screaming ‘no, no, no.’ I barely got my feet in. It was just a good throw by Tommy.”
St. Francis improved to 4-0. Riverside-Brookfield fell to 1-3.
St. Francis QB Tommy Rittenhouse – who is heading to Illinois State University this fall – threw a career-best six TD passes in a 58-7 rout at Riverside-Brookfield. Photo by Steve Metsch.
Knowing the game was pretty much over, trailing by 33 points, Bulldogs Head Coach Brendan Curtin told his players at halftime that they had an opportunity to “establish our identity.”
“The kids played hard, all the way till the end,” Curtin said. “There’s no quit in them.”
There was no quit in senior receiver/linebacker Luke Swiatek, who scored the Bulldogs’ only touchdown on a 6-yard pass from junior quarterback Owen Murphy with 3:56 left in the first half.
“He’s a captain, a team leader,” Curtin said of Swiatek. “We’re lucky to have him.”
Swiatek’s touchdown ended a 67-yard drive that took 7 minutes and 58 seconds. Sophomore Ryan Novak had a nifty 20-yard run to put the ball on St. Francis’ 18-yard line.
The Bulldogs were still in the game early, trailing 6-0, when Elijah Lee picked off a pass to set up St. Francis’ second touchdown and begin the rout.
“Good teams don’t turn the ball over,” Curtin said. “Good teams take the ball away. We had one too many turnovers. They catch up to you.”
Bishop credited his being able to catch three touchdown passes to a team effort: “The offensive line blocked. Just a good team win today.”
A great week of practice helped, Rittenhouse said.
“Everything was just clicking,” Rittenhouse said. “We knew what we had to do. We got the job done.”
St. Francis Head Coach Bob McMillen agreed.
“I thought we practiced really well this week,” McMillen said. “We want to improve each week and I think we did.”
St. Francis has scored 28, 44, 48 and 58 points in its four victories.
“We went out confident,” Rittenhouse added. “Killer instinct. Try to tear them apart.”
McMillen said the Bulldogs early on did a good job of trying to control the ball, but thought his team’s defensive pressure altered Riverside-Brookfield’s game plan.
Of course, scoring on each of your first four possessions doesn’t hurt.
“Our offense is really electric, probably one of the best in the state if not the best,” Bishop said.
“We have four insane receivers and if you can line up four DBs against us, then good luck because I don’t think you can,” Bishop said.
St. Francis held off a late rally to win the sophomore game, 29-22.
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