Coach Mike DeGennaro knows he needs the 5-foot-9, 165-pound junior on the field, and it doesn't matter where. In last week's 17-14 win, Petrini helped limit Gulf to two receptions, caught a 24-yard pass and made a block to spring Sam Bell for a winning 72-yard punt return. Times' writer Frank Pastor caught up with Petrini:
The win was River Ridge's first over Gulf in four seasons. How did it feel?
They've always been an Achilles' heel for us. To finally beat them felt really good. To know we could come together as a team at halftime and come out and beat them, it's helped us a lot.
Describe the mood in the locker room after you fell behind 14-0.
When we first got in, everyone was kind of hanging their heads. I don't know, something just sparked and we started telling each other, "We can beat these guys." We just went out in the second half and started hitting them, moving the ball down the field and putting up some points.
Tell me about your block.
I was on the side and I see the ball coming and I see four guys around Sam. I'm screaming at him, "Don't touch it, don't touch it," because our coaches usually tell us we don't want to risk a fumble. Then he just caught it and I saw him running to my side and I thought I better do something, so I hit four guys and sprung Sam up the sideline.
You took half the snaps at quarterback the first two games before moving to receiver. This week, you practiced at running back. How do you feel about moving around so much?
It doesn't bother me at all, as long as I'm on the field and trying to help the team out. I know I'm starting on defense. That's my sure position. Anything else on offense or special teams (if) they move me around, I'll do whatever they ask.
Do you carry your playbook everywhere?
I carry a folder around with some plays. I have them in class, and in my spare time I look them over. A teacher comes around and says, "That's not math."
What's your idea of hurricane preparation?
Get a lot of water. My street floods real easy, so you have to get sandbags. Usually the hurricanes end up turning, so there's really not much preparing.
What do you do in your spare time?
I work at McDonald's. I work with a couple of guys from Mitchell (Chris Watts and Marc Hopkinson), and we kind of talk back and forth a little bit, telling each other, "We're going to beat you."
Isn't it hard to take that talk seriously when they're wearing a McDonald's visor?
I guess when they have a hat that says, "I love to see you smile," hearing all that talk, it's like, "Okay, guys.' "