By Jack Adams
The Raiders Football Team was amped up for Friday night’s home game against the Brebeuf Braves, bringing with them the momentum of their two previous wins. After lagging behind a bit in the first half, Cardinal Ritter bounced back after halftime and fought on to bring home another win. It was one heck of a ballgame, both teams playing not like football players on a turf, but like warriors on a battlefield.
Brebeuf won the coin toss, but chose to receive the ball in the second half. The Braves kicked a touchback and the Raiders began their first possession from their own 20 yard line. On the first play, Seth “The Kraken” Knutson carried the ball for four yards. Kyle “Kay Pee-Zee” Price caught a pass for an additional three yards, but a yard was lost on the ensuing third down. On 4th and 4 the Raiders attempted to punt from their own 26, but the snap was slightly off, causing a turnover on the Raider 10 yard line.
On the Braves first drive, they picked up 5 rushing yards but were stopped by Daniel “The Slammer” Ayala. An injury on the field briefly halted the game and both teams took a knee as medical officials carried one of the Braves off on a stretcher. The Raiders were quick to show good sportsmanship towards the player as he went by giving them words of encouragement and clapping to show their support. The Brebeuf player gave a thumbs up as he was carted off to show that he was okay.
When the game resumed, the Braves attempted another run, but were flagged on the play. Carrying the ball once more, Brebeuf scored a short touchdown with 9:58 left in the first. The point after was good and the Braves set to return the ball to the Raiders.
Following another Braves touchback, the Raiders began their second drive from their own 20. The Raiders lost 6 yards on first down, but Brad “Big Play” Bacon made up for that with a 10-yard completion from quarterback Diomoni “Supreme” Small. On 3rd and 6 from the Raider 24, the Raiders attempted another pass, but it fell short. With 8:55 left in the first, Cardinal Ritter punted back to Brebeuf, who received it at their own 45 yard line.
The Braves picked up two yards on first down, but had a loss of three on second thanks to a tackle by Egenolf. An incomplete pass on third down brought the Braves to 4th and 11 from their own 44. Brebeuf punted the ball and Egenolf returned it to the Raider 30. On first down, Henry “Napalm” Woodcock caught a ball for a 3 yard gain from Small who followed that up with a 23 yard bomb to Egenolf for a first down at the Brebeuf 44 yard line.
Knutson picked up a yard on first down for the Raiders. After an incomplete pass on second down, Small rushed for 11 yards to move the chains. The Raiders lost a yard on the following play and after an incompletion on second down, brought them to 3rd and 11. Bacon picked up another 10-yard completion from Small, taking the Raiders to 4th and 1 at the Braves 23 yard line. The Raiders had a decision to make, go for the first down or kick the ball. After a timeout to discuss their strategy, the Raiders went for it. Kyle Price picked up 7 yards from a pass from Small, giving the Raiders a first down.
The Raiders could not move the ball forward in the next three plays so they prepared to kick a field goal. However, a wobbly snap caused Cardinal Ritter to turn the ball over to the Braves at their own 35 yard line.
On 1st and 10, the Braves made a giant 38-yard completion. Two plays later Brebeuf earned another first down. Despite their momentum, the Braves threw two incomplete on the next two downs. On third down, the quarterback was sacked by Ayala for a loss of 3, taking them to 4th and 13 from the Raider 25.
The Braves attempted a field goal, but a flag was thrown on the play against the Raiders for roughing the kicker, giving Brebeuf an automatic first down with 13 yards to go. Before the next play could even start, Cardinal Ritter was charged with off-sides, giving the Braves an additional 5 yards. From the Raider 8, the Braves scored a touchdown with the clock ending in the first quarter. The PAT was good and the first quarter came to an end with a score of 14-0 Brebeuf.
To begin the second quarter, the Braves kicked the ball to Bacon, who returned it to the Raider 23 yard line. Small threw a 4 yard pass to Bacon and followed that up with a 15 yard completion to Price. The Raiders were unable to gain a first down in the next three plays and were forced to punt the ball to the Braves.
Brebeuf received the ball at their own 34 on a fair catch. The Braves then marched down the field picking up first down after first down gashing the Raider defense with a flurry of passes and huge run plays of 8, 9 and 14 yards.
On 1st and 10 from the Raider 20 yard line, the Braves rushed for another 3 yards. Knutson and Giebel made tackles on the next two plays but Brebeuf gained another first down with 8 yards to go. The Braves threw an incomplete pass on first down and attempted a QB run on 2nd and goal from the Raider 8 yard line, but were stopped by “Charging” Trey Hunt. Brebeuf threw an incomplete pass on 3rd and 5, which was nearly picked off by Egenolf. Then on 4th and 5 from the Raider 5, Brebeuf attempted another field goal, but the kick was no good and the ball was turned over at the Raider 20 yard linewith 5:24 remaining in the first half.
Small was sacked for a loss of 8 yards on first down, but a penalty against the Braves moved the Raiders up to 1st and 10 from their own 30. Egenolf made a completion across the middle and the Braves were penalized again for a personal foul giving the Raiders an automatic first down. Price picked up 5 yards off a pass from Small, after an incompletion on 2nd down, Small rushed for a gain of 2 yards, taking the Raiders to 4th and 3 from the Braves 32 yard line.
Cardinal Ritter subsequently called two timeouts before Egenolf made a 14-yard reception for a Raider first down. Small rushed for another 2 yards on the next play and Kluemper made a reception on 2nd and 8. Brebeuf was charged with pass interference during the play, allowing the Raiders to move up to 1st and goal from the Brebeuf 3. Small threw a touchdown pass to Price, putting the Raiders on the scoreboard, and kicker Matthew “Iron Foot” Boberg contributed to that by completing the point after leaving 1:50 in the half.
Boberg kicked the ball back to Brebeuf and Egenolf made the stop at the Braves 31 yard line. On first down, Bryce Giebel and Henry Woodcock sacked the quarterback for a loss of 2. The Braves completed two passes, giving them a first down from their own 45. Following an incomplete pass, the quarterback gained a yard on 2nd and 10. The Braves managed another completion, but were flagged on the play, costing them significant ground and moving them back to 3rd and 28 from the Brebeuf 27. The Braves chose to do a QB kneel on the next play, running down to clock for halftime with a score of 14-7, Brebeuf.
When the game resumed with the third quarter, Boberg kicked the ball to the Braves, who ran it out to the 27 yard line. On first down, Brebeuf rushed for 2 yards, but were shut down by Kendall Dalverny and Hunt. The Braves gainded some yardage on the next plays, taking them to 4th and 1 from their own 36. Again, the Braves carried the ball for a gain of 9 and a first down. Brebeuf gained a 9-yard completion on the next play and Egenolf deflected the pass on 2nd and 1, forcing an incompletion. On the next play, the Braves ran the ball for 3 yards and a short first down, stopped again by Dalverny.
The play after was quite possibly the climax, the turning point of the game, when the stars aligned and the tables turned. On 1st and 10 from the Raider 43, the Braves threw the ball right into the hands of Morris. Brebeuf was again flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play, giving the Raiders an additional 15 yards, moving the ball to the Braves 48. Small was sacked for a loss of 9 on first down, but battled back throwing Price a 16-yard competion, followed subsequently by an 11-yard reception to Bacon and a 14-yard missile to Woodcock.
The Raiders were now in the Red Zone but were charged with a false start bringing the ball to 1st and 15 from the Braves 21. That didn’t matter as Small dropped back and threw a completion to Kyle Price for another Raider touchdown. Boberg went in and expertly kicked the PAT, tying the game all up.
Boberg kicked the ball to Brebeuf, landing it in the endzone for a touchback. From their own 20 yard line, the Braves rushed the ball for 13 yards, pushed out of bounds by Small. After completed a pass, the Braves were stopped short by Woodcock, picking up only 2 yards.
A flag against the Raiders advanced the Braves by 5 yards, taking them to 2nd and 3 from their own 40 yard line. The Braves rushed for 11 yards and a first down on the next play. On 1st and 10 from the Raider 49, Brebeuf ran a sweep and were stopped by Egenolf. Again, the Raiders were flagged, this time for grabbing the face mask, giving the Braves 5 yards. There was no gain on second down and only a gain of one on third. An incomplete pass on 4th and 2 resulted in a turnover to Cardinal Ritter at the Raider 42 with 3:23 left in the third.
The Raiders suffered a loss of 5 on first down, but Price picked up 9 receiving yards on the play after. On 3rd and 6 from their own 46, the Raiders threw an interception. Bacon was quick to stop the play at the Raider 42 yard line.
Fueled by adrenaline and an intense desire to win, the Raiders allowed not a single yard for the Braves on their next drive. On first down, Dalverny shut down their running game for a loss of 6 yards. Morris broke up the pass on 2nd and 16, forcing an incompletion. The Braves ran the ball on third down, but were met with the twin forces of Dalverny and Small, costing them another 3 yards. Finally, from 4th and long on their own 49, the Braves punted the ball into the arms of Egenolf, who returned it to the Raider 27. Before the clock ran out, Price made a 5-yard reception and Small rushed for another 4 yards on second down.
With the beginning of the fourth and final quarter, the game was deadlocked, 14-14. It was here that Morris’s interception from earlier on came to fruition, giving the Raiders momentum and allowing them to pull ahead and be named victors of the ever-ferocious battle. The Raiders threw an incomplete pass, taking them to 4th and 1 from their own 36. Cardinal Ritter got set to punt, only to fool every spectator in the stands with a fake-punt ran by Ben Egenolf, who picked up that one, crucial yard the Raiders needed for a first down.
Knutson ran for 4 yards on the next play, but that gain was cancelled out with a loss of 4 on second down. Following a Braves timeout, Egenolf made a reception from Small and Brebeuf was flagged another unsportsmanlike penalty for targeting during the play, giving the Raiders 15 yards and a 1st down. Small completed a pass to Woodcock for 4 more yards, before Cardinal Ritter was flagged on the next two plays, costing them 17 yards and taking them to 2nd and 23 from the Braves 47. The Raiders could not push the ball any further and were forced to punt the ball to the Braves.
Brebeuf rushed for 4 yards between first and second down, stopped by Bryce “Black and Blue” Giebel on the latter. The Braves threw an incomplete pass on third down, forcing them to punt on 4th and 6 from their own 24. Egenolf returned the kick to the Braves 44 yard line.
On the first play, Small ran for an 11-yard first down. The Raiders had a faulty snap on second down, losing them 5 yards. On third down they threw an incomplete pass, but the Braves were penalized for pass interference, giving the Raiders the 15 yards they needed for a first down.
Knutson rushed for 13 yards and a first down on the following two plays and bringing the Raiders down to the Brebeuf 10 yard line. On the next play, Small rushed for a third Raider touchdown, finally putting Cardinal Ritter ahead of the Braves and effectively deciding the game. Before the PAT was kicked, the Raiders were charged with a false start, followed by the Braves being charged with encroachment. However, Boberg kept up his rep by completing the point after nonetheless.
Boberg kicked the ball to the Braves, who began their drive from their own 34. Brebeuf ran for 6 yards, halted by Giebel. The Braves then threw two incomplete passes with Knutson on tight coverage. The Braves attempted the fourth down conversion, but instead threw another incompletion, turning over the ball at the Braves 40 yard line.
Small picked up 2 yards on first down before Brebeuf called a timeout. Knutson then added another 3 rushing yards to his record. The Braves, charged with pass interference on the play after, gave the Raiders bonus yardage as the game winded down. Knutson ran the ball three more times before the clock struck 0.
Small was great under center going 22-31 for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns in the air while adding 1 on the ground. Price led all receivers with 8 receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown. Egenolf was a “Top 10” High light reel making 5 receptions for 87 yards. Bacon added 4 catches for 33 yards and Woodcock caught 3 balls for 22 yards.
The defense was anchored by Giebel who had 9 tackles (8 solo) followed by Egenolf with 7 tackles, Knutson and Kluemper with 6 and Hunt with 5.
The Raiders will go on to play the rival Speedway Spark Plugs this Friday, September 8 at 7 pm at Marian University. This will also be senior night for the Girls Golf Team, The Boys and Girls Cross Country Teams and the Raider Band.
Go out and support your Raiders!