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Steadman sets mark as Sharks clinch

Riverview running back Avious Steadman breaks the county rushing record as his club wraps up a playoff berth.

By EMILY NIPPS

© St. Petersburg Times,
published November 3, 2001


RIVERVIEW -- Riverview's 42-12 victory over Gaither, which guaranteed the Sharks a playoff berth, could be overshadowed by only one other triumph Friday night.

Riverview senior running back Avious Steadman broke the Hillsborough County all-time rushing record, held by former Gaither running back Lydell Ross.

Steadman finished with a career-total of 5,161 yards, eclipsing Ross' 5,120.

Needing 103 yards going into the game, Steadman broke the record on his 11th carry with less than a minute left in the first half.

On the play, he bulldozed through four tackles to gain 9 yards.

The game was stopped to announce the feat and present Steadman with the ball.

"I feel happy because it's not just me that got the record," Steadman said. "Without your line, you're nothing, and my line gives everything they can. Hurt or unhurt, they hung in there on every single down and every single play."

Steadman is the third rusher is three years to break the mark, following Ross last year and King's Fred Reid in 1999.

He ended the game with 143 yards on 16 carries and 1 touchdown.

The Sharks (8-2) claimed ownership of the game early, scoring twice in the first quarter on unexpected plays. Riverview, known for its strong ground game, first scored on a 46-yard pass play (quarterback Matt Mazur to Richard Woodbury).

One minute later, the Cowboys prepared to punt at their own 5-yard line after a failed drive, but the punt was blocked by Riverview defensive back Keon Hins and run in for a touchdown.

Gaither (5-5) had hope after quarterback Philip Beauchamp connected with Craig Barber for a 38-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.

But the Cowboys didn't score again until halfback Doc Marshall's 5-yard touchdown the final quarter.

Both two-point conversion attempts failed.

"I'm real proud of our defense, and our offense goes without saying," Riverview coach Alex Albert said. "We've got three Division I backs right now, and Woodbury is playing at that level."

Although Steadman was the star of the night, Woodbury led the Sharks with 161 yards on 7 carries and scored 3 touchdowns.

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