By Steve Metsch
When a quarterback and wide receiver have played 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 in a 58-7 win over Riverside-Brookfield on April 9. Rittenhouse threw three of his career-best six touchdown passes to Bishop in the victory.
The two have been teammates since they were grade-schoolers.
“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.”
St. Francis improved to 4-0. Riverside-Brookfield fell to 1-3.
Trailing by 33 points, Bulldogs coach Brendan Curtin told his players at halftime that they had an opportunity to establish an identity.
“The kids played hard, all the way ’til 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 the Spartans 18-yard line.
The Bulldogs trailed 6-0 when St. Francis’ Elijah Lee picked off a pass to set up the Spartans’ 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.”
Riverside-Brookfield is scheduled to host Wheaton Academy at 7:15 p.m. Friday.