Riverside-St. Martin fought a duel of the top running backs. Here’s how it was decided. | prepare sports
The District 9-1A opener between Riverside and the undefeated St. Martin’s in reserve on Friday pitted two of the best running backs in the New Orleans area, Elijah Davis of the Rebels and Harlem Berry of the Saints.
Davis and Riverside put on strong defensive performances and a dominant running game to a 35-7 win over St. Martin’s, the highest-ranked team in the latest LHSAA Division IV Power Ratings.
Davis, a UL conscript, mustered 203 yards and four touchdowns on 21 attempts to speed up a 347-yard ground play. Quarterback Luke Hymel added 129 yards rushing and 128 yards through the air.
Riverside defense limited Berry, who was ranked the #2 2025 running back nationally by 247Sports, for 109 yards on 24 tries. The sophomore came into Friday’s matchup averaging about 14 yards per carry.
How it was won
Riverside (5-1, 1-0) forced a three-and-out from St. Martin on the first drive of the game. The Rebels then showed their quick-hitting skills on the drive that followed as Davis ran around the left flank and sped down the sideline for a 53-yard touchdown run on the third play of the points march. The drive covered 67 yards and gave Riverside a 7-0 lead, leaving 8:41 in the opening quarter.
The Saints put together an 11-play drive early in the second quarter that brought St. Martin’s to the edge of the red zone. But the Riverside defense sensed a short-yard run from Berry to force a turnover on downs.
The Rebels extended their lead late in the second quarter with a 4-yard run from Davis that gave them a 14-0 lead with 43 seconds remaining. The senior picked up first downs on 9-yard and 13-yard runs to set up the scoring game.
Davis broke another long touchdown run on the Rebels’ first drive early in the third quarter when he broke through the center of St. Martin’s defense and ran 51 yards into the end zone to give Riverside a 21-0 lead : 10: 10 on the left in the frame.
Davis added his final score of the game on a 2-yard jump, leaving 5:33 in contention for the 35-0 advantage. St. Martin’s (5-1, 0-1) scored their only touchdown after a 78-yard kickoff return from Seth Mandella late in the fourth quarter.
player of the game
Elijah Davis, Riverside: The senior slashed St. Martin’s for big plays all night, including touchdown runs from 51 and 53 yards. The running back finished the game with 203 yards and four touchdowns.
You said so
Riverside coach Lee Roussel: “We were able to prevent (Berry) from getting to the perimeter. If you watched him you’d see that a lot of his damage was done on tracks and wide zones on the sidelines, and even inside runs he does a really good job of setting you up. The plan was to turn it back inside and not let him out into space. He’s as fast as a player we’ve played against. Our defense did a really good job.”
Davis: “This win definitely gives us a lot of momentum. When we came into the game we knew they were number 1. We took that very personally and that was our motivation for the whole week.”
• Berry and Davis started Friday as two of the leading rushers in the New Orleans area. Davis finished second with 1,157 yards and 17 touchdowns on 125 attempts and Berry finished fifth with 908 yards and 20 points on just 64 attempts.