Riverdale didn't get the quick start it wanted in its region opener at Cookeville on Friday night.
However, the Warriors finished with a flourish and a 35-17 victory to improve to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in league play.
"It's always a tough road trip," Riverdale coach Will Kriesky said. "It's a tough place to play and one of the longest trips we take all year until the playoffs.
"I felt like we had a slow start, but as long as you come away from there with a win it's a positive."
Cookeville struck first in the opening quarter, courtesy of two 15-yard Warrior penalties. However, the Warriors answered back with two scores to go up 21-7 and appeared to score again before fumbling the ball into the end zone.
The Cavaliers kept their hopes alive with a long drive to pull within 21-14 at halftime.
"We had some uncharacteristic things that didn't happen to us in the first two games," Kriesky said. "There were things we didn't do well. I didn't think we tackled well, so we'll get back to the basics and fundamentals this week. We need to do a better job tackling."
Despite a close half, Riverdale senior tailback Andrew Smith took over in many ways as he rushed for 165 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
"His leadership, not just on the field, but off it was great," Kriesky said. "Twice I saw him encouraging teammates on the sideline after a bad play. He asked me at halftime to address the team before I did, and he did a great job with that. They listed to his message and came out in the second half and we did the things we had to do. You expect that from a two-year starting tailback. He does all the little things right, so I'm not surprised."
Senior quarterback Taylor Yancey threw for three touchdowns and 200 yards on 17 of 24 passing. He has completed 32 of his last 39 attempts the past two weeks.
Riverdale plays its final non-region game at Smyrna on Friday night.