BARSTOW - It was an air to ground battle at Stringham Park Saturday afternoon.

The Barstow Riffians fell 26-12 to the Inglewood Blackhawks in Barstow's final home game of the season Saturday. Barstow's offense is known for putting the ball on the ground repeatedly, with running back Nathaniel Stone often carrying the ball. Stone even came into the game as the leading rusher in the La Belle Community Football League with 996 yards. Stone picked up 85 yards on Saturday and broke the 1,000 yard mark on his first rush of the day.

"I got my 1,000 yards and I'm happy I got to do it in at home in front of my teammates and the supporters," Stone said. "After I got it I just had to play like any other game. Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, you know they get their records but they move on and play the game."

In comparison Inglewood likes to air the ball out. Blackhawk quarterback Damion Ward already had 173 passing attempts and a LCFL leading 1,572 yards before Saturday's game. Inglewood's Thyron Lewis led the LCFL with 667 yards receiving.

Despite the loss, the Riffians were able to slow the 2006 LCFL National Champions down throughout the game. Ward, who averages 12 completions and 197 yards a game, was held to 95 yards and Lewis, who averages 83 yards a game, was held to 32.

"We're good when we come out at 100 (percent)," Yafeekie Joiner said. "We come out and play hard like we are meant to."

It was the first half that put the Blackhawks out of range for the Riffians. Inglewood scored two touchdowns on turnovers in the first half, one off of a fumble and the other from an interception. The Riffians controlled the second half scoring the only touchdown of the half and playing tough defense. Stone ran the ball in five yards for the touchdown. He also had a hand in Barstow's first touchdown hitting Vaughn Grey in the end zone for a touchdown.

"In the first half they came out to play," Joseph Lealofi said. "When we settled down and started showing up we were fine. In the second half we just stepped up and came back."

The Riffians will play their final regular season game of the year against the West Coast Sharks at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Calabasas High School in Calabasas.

Contact the writer: (760) 256-4122 or david_heldreth@link.freedom.com