By Jack Adams
Friday night’s game saw the Cardinal Ritter Raiders away at Linton-Stockton High School against the Miners. The drive was long for Raider fans, but it was worth it as the football team secured its fifth straight win of the season. The Raiders led the game in scoring all four quarters, and the Miners managed to pick up a few points in the fourth, but it was too little too late. The final score was 42-22, continuing the Cardinal Ritter Football Team’s undefeated varsity season.
At the beginning of the game, Cardinal Ritter won the coin toss and chose to receive. The Miners attempted an early onside kick, but Kyle “Kay-Pee-Zee” Price recovered the ball at the Raider 36 yard line. On first down, Diomoni “Supreme” Small scrambled to pick up three yards. There was no gain on second down, but Ben “The Jet” Egenolf caught a ball from Small for 18 yards and a first down. On the next play, Darrell “Quicksilver” Roberson rushed the ball for 6 yards. The Raiders were flagged for holding on second down, costing them 11 yards and moving them back to 2nd and 15 from their own 48. This did not deter the Raider Nation, but instead motivated them. Small launched a cannon pass to Brad “Big Play” Bacon, who caught it for a 52-yard touchdown completion. Matthew “Ironfoot” Boberg was sent in for the point after and the kick was good leaving 9:38 in the first.
Boberg and the kicking team prepared to return the ball to the Miners, and Boberg kicked a touchback, causing Linton-Stockton to start from their own 20 yard line. Before the Miners could even begin their first drive, they were charged with a false start, taking them back to their own 15. The Miners ran the ball for 3 on first down, stopped by Kendall “Demolition” Dalverny. “Charging” Trey Hunt shut down the QB sweep on the following play after Linton had picked up a gain of 4. Again, the Miners gave the ball to their quarterback, who drove it forward for a Miner first down. For the majority of the first quarter, the Miners kept the ball on the turf, driving forward against the combined efforts of Dalverny, Roberson, Manolo “Man-O-War” Suazo, Donovan Morris, Dillon “Rube” Olejnik, Javon Rodgers, Bryce “Black-and-Blue” Giebel, and Jake “The Snake” Kluemper. On 3rd and 6 from the Raider 16, the Miners ran the ball, but were met with the force of Rodgers for no gain. On 4th down, Linton attempted a pass, but it fell incomplete, turning the ball over to Cardinal Ritter.
With 1:53 in the first, the Raiders began their next possession. After a loss of 2 on first down, Small threw a long pass to Price, who caught it for a 28-yard first down. Small rushed for a gain of 4 on the next play before the first quarter came to an end. The score was 7-0, Raiders.
With the beginning of the second quarter, Cardinal Ritter was quick to continue their momentum. Roberson rushed forward for a gain of 12 yards on 2nd and 6. Small completed a pass to Henry “A-Bomb” Woodcock for 14 yards. Roberson then glided past the Miner D-line for another Raider touchdown with 10:51 in the first half. The PAT was good and Boberg kicked another touchback on the return.
Starting on their own 20, the Miners rushed the ball for 5 yards and were tackled by Daniel “The Slammer” Ayala and Egenolf. On 2nd and 5, Linton attempted a QB run, but they fumbled the ball and the Raiders were quick to recover it at the Miner 31 yard line.
On first down, Small fired a bullet to Price for a pick up of 11. On second down, Small gave the ball to Egenolf, but the Raiders were charged with holding, taking them 3 yards back from the line of scrimmage. Price made another catch for 10 yards on 2nd down and Roberson carried the ball forward for a gain of 4 on the ensuing play. From the Miner 9 yard line, Small threw a touchdown pass to Egenolf with 8:09 in the half. The point after was good and the kickoff team went in again. Boberg kicked it to Linton, who returned it to their own 35, stopped by Bacon.
The Miners picked up 2 on first down, hit again with the duo of Ayala and Egenolf. Linton threw an incomplete pass on second down and could only pick up 4 on 3rd before being tackled by Egenolf. The Miners chose to punt the ball, which Egenolf went back to receive. However, the Raiders were penalized with a personal foul and they began from their own 14 yard line.
The Raiders could not make any progress on their possession, however. After a loss of 12 on first down, no gain on second, and an incomplete pass on third, Cardinal Ritter punted the ball, which went out of bound at their own 42 yard line.
Linton continued its aggressive ground strategy, but fumbled the ball at the Raider 17, which was quickly dove on by Cardinal Ritter. With this possession change, the Raiders were rejuvenated, but on first down, they too fumbled the ball, which the Miners recovered at the Raider 24 yard line. Linton then rushed the ball forward and scored their first touchdown three plays later. They went for the 2-point conversion, but fell short of the completion.
On the return, Egenolf carried the ball to the Raider 42 yard line. Bacon then caught another whopping 58-yard touchdown pass from Small on the first play of the drive with only 0:58 left before halftime. The PAT was good and the Miners returned the ball to their own 28 on the kick.
The Miners threw an incomplete pass on first down and were met with the twin forces of Rodgers and Kluemper to cut their running game short on 2nd and 3rd. Linton chose to punt the ball away, which was returned to the Raider 28 yard line. With only 2 second left in the first half, Small knelt the ball and brought the second quarter to an end, with the scoreboard reading 28-6, Cardinal Ritter.
As the second half began, the Raiders were greedy to feel the end zone beneath their cleats. Boberg kicked the ball to the Miners, who returned it to their own 33, tackled by Ayala. Ayala then cost Linton 2 yards on their first play. The Miners gained a yard back on second down, but were shut down by Mitchell Wilson. Roberson and Olejnik stopped the third down rush, taking the Miners to 4th and 3. Linton prepared to punt, but Cardinal Ritter was flagged, giving the Miners 5 yards and a first down. The Miners tried capitalizing on this, but fumbled the ball, which was recovered at the 50 yard line by Rodgers.
Small ran the ball for a gain of 9 on first down and Roberson complimented him with a pick up of 3 on second. Small completed a pass to Egenolf for a gain of 15 yards. After a loss of a yard on first down, Price caught a ball for 12 yards, taking the Raiders to the Miner 12. A loss of 3 and a false start charge, pushed back the Raiders, but they were resilient and Bacon caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Small with 6:25 left in the third quarter. The point after was good and the Raiders got set to kick the ball away.
The Miners returned the ball to their own 22 and were stopped by Roberson. In three plays, Linton only picked up 6 yards, and chose to punt the ball back to Cardinal Ritter. Egenolf received the ball on a fair catch at the Raider 45 yard line.
On first down, “Quicksilver” rushed the ball for 11 yards. However, the Raiders lost a yard on the next play and had no gain on second down. A loss of 2 on third down forced the Raiders to punt. A faulty snap caused a turnover at the Raider 36 yard line.
In a tremendous show of athleticism and Raider pride, “Supreme” Small drove the ball past the Miner defenders, weaving in and out and scoring a touchdown off of an 84-yard run. The point after was good and Boberg was sent in to kick the ball back to Linton. He did more than that, reminding people why he is called “Ironfoot” as he launched the ball clear through the goal posts on the opposite end of the field for a touchback.
As the final quarter began, the Raiders already knew the game was decided. Lady Luck had been standing by their side, cheering them on with the Lady Raiders from the sideline. But even though things looked cut and dry, the players on the field knew that the game was never over until the last second ticked by.
For the first three minutes of the fourth, the Miners powered forward with their running game. With 9:09 left in the game, the Miners put another touchdown on the board, desperately trying to gain back their morale. Again, Linton attempted a 2-point conversion, only this time they succeeded. They kicked the ball back to Cardinal Ritter and Egenolf returned the ball to the Raider 43.
On their next drive, the Raiders weren’t able to make any progress as the Miners fought ferociously to push them back to their own end zone. The Raiders punted the ball to Linton, and the Miners began their next possession from the Raider 36 yard line.
Linton-Stockton was stopped by Dalverny and Morris on first down after picking up a yard. Nathan Cmehil stopped the run on the next play, but Linton managed to grab a first down. Kenneth “KJ” Majors made the tackle on first down, allowing the Miners only one yard. Derek Gomez stopped the ensuing play, letting no one get past the line of scrimmage. On 3rd and 9, the Miners pick up 7 yards, but were blocked from the first down line by Zach Feltz. A flag against the Raiders gave them that first down however, and the Miners scored another touchdown three plays later, completing also another 2-point conversion.
Linton kicked a squib, which Roberson returned to the Miner 34 yard line. Ashton Hall carried the ball for 4 yards between first and second down. Aiden Robinson caught a ball from Jack Henninger for 26 yards, taking the Raiders to the Miner 4 yard line. As the last second of the game winded down, Henninger knelt the ball, ending the game and securing the undefeated varsity streak. The final score was 42-22, Cardinal Ritter.
The offense was led by Small who improves by leaps and bounds on a weekly basis going 12-13 for 270 yards and 4 touchdowns in the air while adding 90 yards on 9 carries and a touchdown on the ground. Small was complemented with the rushing attack from Roberson who gained 64 yards and a touchdown on 5 carries. Bacon was a monster on the receiving end of 3 catches for 125 yards and 3 scores. Price added 4 catches for 60 yards, Woodcock had 2 for 14 and Egenolf dominated all three facets of the game have 3 receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown, 11 tackles (8 solo) to lead the defense and adding 30 yards on returns.
The defense was stout and adding to Egenolf’s total was Giebel and Rodgers with 9 tackles, Olejnik and Ayala with 8, Dalverny and Kluemper with 7, Woodcock with 6 and Wilson with 5. Ayala and Rodgers each had a fumble recovery.
The Raiders will go on to play an away game against the Triton Central Tigers at Triton Central High School. Go out and support your team!