FULTON, Ill. — The Riverdale Rams’ second-half surge propelled them to 27-13 Big Rivers Conference win against the Fulton Steamers on Friday at Fulton High School.

The Steamers opened the scoring with a 47-yard pass play from quarterback Tyler Renkes to receiver Alex Wherry with 1 minute, 25 seconds to go in the first quarter. It became a 13-0 Fulton lead on the 10-yard pass play from Renkes to receiver Brian Zahnle with just 18 seconds to go in the first half as the momentum looked to be on the Steamers side.

But that was all the offense was able to do on the scoring side of things.

“You gotta give all the credit to Riverdale as they made a halftime adjustment to just pound it at us and see if we could stop them or not,” said Fulton head coach Patrick Lower on Riverdale’s strong second half. “We told our kids at halftime that the only thing working for them was the fullback up the middle. They knew that as well as we did, and they stayed on it and wore us down, basically.”

Five second-half turnovers by the Steamers aided the Rams’ second-half comeback. Strong running by Riverdale’s David Lauer didn’t hurt, either.

Lauer collected 127 yards on the ground and the Rams first touchdown as well on a 10-play, 58-yard drive to start the second half. Lauer had 51 yards on that drive alone as the running game came to life. The Rams then turned a Renkes interception into more points quickly, as they struck again on the 18-yard touchdown run by Tyler Smeltzly to grab their first lead of the game at 14-13 with 5:28 to go in the third quarter.

“No matter who you’re playing and what kind of game it is, you can’t turn the ball over like that and give the other team more chances than you get,” Lower said. “We just didn’t do a good job of protecting the ball, but the bottom line is, we’re up 13-0 at hafttime, we need to win that ballgame.”

Two more Renkes picks in the fourth quarter allowed the Rams to add to that lead.

Chase Young ran it in from 2 yards out, and then on the second offensive play after the Riverdale score, Zach Christensen stepped in front of another Renkes throw to return it for a 35-yard score with 4:48 remaining to seal the game for the visiting Rams.

Renkes did throw for 182 yards and two touchdowns, but his four interceptions and two lost fumbles by Fulton running backs were too much for the Steamers to overcome.

“I don’t think his confidence will lack at all,” Lower said of Renkes. “I think it’s just a matter of getting back out there and reading defenses and doing what he does best and that’s throwing the football for us.”

With the loss, the Steamers fall to 1-2 overall and Riverdale improved their record to 2-1 on the young season.

Scoring by quarters

Riverdale 0 0 14 13 — 27

Fulton 7 6 0 0 — 13

First quarter

F — Tyler Renkes 47 yard pass to Alex Wherry (Travis St. Ores kick) 1:25

Second quarter

F — Tyler Renkes 10 yard pass to Brian Zahnle (kick failed) 0:18

Third quarter

R — David Lauer 1 run (kick failed) 7:42

R — Tyler Smeltzly 18 run (Corey Wolfe run) 5:28

Fourth Quarter

R — Chase Young 2 yard run (Andy Cooper run failed) 5:45

R — Zach Christensen 35 yard INT Return (kick failed) 4:48

Individual statistics

RUSHING — Riverdale, David Lauer 23-127, Tyler Smeltzly 12-56, Chase Young 7-20, Corey Wolfe 7-17, Josh Duncan 2-4, Andy Cooper 4- -20. Fulton, Evan Regenwether 13-63, Travis St. Ores 1-8, Zach Ryder 2-2, Tyler Renkes 6 - (-11).

PASSING — Riverdale, Andy Cooper 1-5 4 yards. Fulton, Tyler Renkes19-37 182 yards.

RECEIVING — Riverdale, Wes DeClerq 1-4. Fulton, Alex Wherry 7-110, Brandon Schneider 6-34, Brian Zahnle 3-21, Ashton Hutton 2-5.

This Week's Circulars