The Wolfpack trailed 24-20 in the fourth quarter, and to make matters worse, they were without starting quarterback Everett Pollard.
With 10:44 remaining to play, and Whitefield leading 20-17, Pollard was knocked out of the game on a 1-yard run, which forced Sky Dupree to take over the signal-calling duties.
After a short Wolfpack punt, Riverside Military took over at the Whitefield 34.
Riverside quarterback Avery Cagle kept the ball on the following play and scrambled his way for a touchdown to give the Eagles the lead with 9:37 left in the game.
It was then that Dupree seized the moment.
Dupree broke away for a 79-yard touchdown run, which would prove to be the game winner.
“I saw two receivers blocked well and a line that just wouldn’t give up,” Dupree said. “We could drive a truck through that one (the hole in the line).”
It was a game Whitefield coach Jimmy Fields was relieved to win.
“I don’t know if it’s a win other than just a group of kids that just ain’t going to lose,” Fields said. “They just refused to lose, and I think that’s more satisfying and gratifying than the win. Just having a group of kids that just says we’re not going to lose.”
Whitefield had difficulty holding onto the ball in the first half, fumbling the ball away twice, but it was still able to establish a 14-10 lead at the half.
The Wolfpack got a 20-yard touchdown pass from Pollard to Matt Olson. Whitefield also gained 63 yards and a touchdown on the ground cumulatively by Lawrence Waters, Dupree, Jordan Edge and Pollard himself in the opening half.
Riverside struggled to establish any offensive rhythm in the first quarter, but scored on a 32-yard field goal by Christopher Rosato to cut the early Whitefield lead to 7-3.
After the Wolfpack fumbled the kickoff with 11 seconds to go in the first quarter, the Eagles capitalized on the good field position by pounding the ball into the end zone on a four-play, 9-yard drive capped by a 2-yard Cagle touchdown run.
Friday’s result differed plenty from the two teams’ 2012 meeting in which the Wolfpack won 41-0.
“Coach (Gary) Downs and Riverside, this is not the same football team we played last year,” Fields said. “They are a really good football team and they took it to us, the faced adversity, we got up on them, they could have laid down, they did not, their kids fought and because of playing a team like Riverside that’s going to make us better in the long haul.”