By Jack Adams
The night was heavy, the air frigid, the game long. The Cardinal Ritter Raiders engaged the Indian Creek Braves in a home game on October 27 for the second round of Sectionals. After a shaky start, the Raiders held their own and emerged triumphant, the score reading 41-22. Every game could be their last, but our boys in red fight hard and played to the last second.
As the game opened up, Cardinal Ritter won the coin toss and the Raiders chose to kick the ball away. The Braves returned the ball to the Raider 46 and Matthew “Ironfoot” Boberg was there on the stop. Indian Creek began with a short run for three and Henry “A-Bomb” Woodcock made the tackle. There was an incomplete pass on 2nd down and the Braves were penalized on the play after for a personal foul, costing them nine yards and pushing them back to 4th and 16 from their own 48. Indian Creek punted the ball away after a short, one-minute drive.
The ball came to a stop at the Raider 5 yard line. On 1st down, Diomoni “Supreme” Small carried the ball for a gain of nine. The next play resulted in an incomplete pass and there was no gain on the 3rd down run. As Cardinal Ritter got set to punt the ball away, the Braves blocked the kick and recovered the ball in the endzone for a touchdown with 9:17 in the first quarter.
Indian Creek attempted a 2-point conversion, but Manolo “Man-O-War” Suazo and Bryce “Black and Blue” Giebel played tight defense and the conversion was no good. The Braves kicked the ball back to the Raiders and Darrell “Quicksilver” Roberson returned the ball to the Raider 40 yard line.
Beginning the drive, Small rushed the ball for five, followed by a gain of six on the ground by Xion “the Streak” Russell. There was a loss of two on the ensuing play, but this was made up for as Small completed a pass to Woodcock for 11 yards. Cardinal Ritter was faced with 3rd and 1, but a false start against Indian Creek gave the Raiders a freebie of five and a 1st down. Again, Small threw a pass to Woodcock for 22 yards. From the Braves 13 yard line, Russell picked up another three on the ground. However, Cardinal Ritter fumbled the ball on the next play, which Indian Creek recovered at their own 7 with just over six minutes on the clock.
The Braves passed for six yards on 1st down and Daniel “the Slammer” Ayala was there for the tackle. “Charging” Trey Hunt stopped the run on the next play after a short gain of two. On 3rd and 2, Giebel tackled the quarterback for a loss of two yards. As Indian Creek went to punt the ball away, the Raider defense mirrored that of the Braves defense. Woodcock blocked the kick and recovered the ball in the endzone for a Raider touchdown, leaving 4:15 in the first.
Neither offense had scored yet.
The PAT was good and Cardinal Ritter took the lead by a point. Boberg kicked the ball back to the Braves and Kendall “Demolition” Dalverny and Roberson made the stop at the Braves 28 yard line.
On the first play of their drive, Indian Creek completed a pass for an 11-yard 1st down. The Braves ran the ball over two plays for 19 yards, with Hunt and Roberson making tackles on both plays. After completing a seven-yard pass, on which Donovan “Spiderman” Morris made the stop, the Braves threw a pass for no gain as Seth “the Kraken” Knutson was there for the tackle. From 3rd and 3, Indian Creek ran the ball just far enough for a 1st down at the Raider 32, with Roberson on the tackle. Indian Creek threw two incomplete passes while Morris played strong coverage. For the remainder of the first quarter, the Braves moved the ball down the field, all the way to the Raider 1 yard line, fighting against Morris, Giebel, and Javon “the Shield” Rodgers. When the first quarter ended, the score was 7-6, Cardinal Ritter.
This was going to be a frosty night.
As the second quarter began, the Braves ran the ball in for a quick touchdown. They attempted a 2-point conversion, but failed. However, the Raiders were charged with pass interference, giving Indian Creek another chance. The second time around, the conversion was good. The Braves then kicked the ball to Ben “the Jet” Egenolf, who ran it up to the Raider 47 yard line.
On 1st down, Small threw a bullet to Kyle “Kay Pee Zee” Price for nine yards. Small followed this up with his own 12-yard rush for a 1st down at the Braves 32. Unfortunately, the Braves recovered a loose ball on the next play at their own 19 yard line, forcing a turnover just under a minute into the second quarter.
Indian Creek ran the ball for a single yard on 1st down as Giebel made the quick stop, followed by a tackle for a loss of five on the ensuing play. From 3rd and 14, the Braves passed the ball, but Dillon “Rube” Olejnik tackled the receiver for no gain on the play. On 4th down, the Braves punted the ball to Egenolf, who caught it on a fair catch with 9:11 in the first half.
As the Raiders began their drive, they threw two incomplete passes, but Brad “Big Play” Bacon turned things around with a 12-yard completion from Small to the Braves 32 yard line. Small gained a yard on the ground on the next play, followed by an 18-yard reception to Bacon for another big first down. There was no gain on the play after, but Bacon caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Small on the following play with 6:45 in the second quarter. The point after was good and Boberg kicked the ball to Indian Creek, who returned it to their own 36 yard line as Morris was there for the tackle.
Cardinal Ritter threw an incomplete pass on 1st down, but Woodcock caught a ball from Small for seven on 2nd down. Russell picked up two on the ground, followed by a six-yard drive for the 1st down conversion to the Braves 30. On the next play, Indian Creek was flagged for a delayed hit, giving the Raiders a huge 19 yards and an automatic 1st down. Small ran the ball for four on the next play, but the Braves then intercepted the ball at their own 7 yard line, turning over the ball with under four minutes in the half.
Indian Creek had no gain on 1st down, but picked up three on the ground on the ensuing play. On 3rd and 7, Egenolf again intercepted the ball and ran it into the endzone for a defensive touchdown with just 2:08 on the clock.
The PAT was good and Cardinal Ritter kicked the ball back to Indian Creek, who returned it to their own 25 before Eric Krumm made the stop.
For the rest of the first half, the Braves rushed the ball down the field, making it to the Raider 39 yard line before time expired. Egenolf, Giebel, Dalverny, Olejnik, and Jake “the Snake” Kluemper all made tackles alongside the Raider D-line. The score at halftime was 21-14, Cardinal Ritter.
When the second half began, Indian Creek kicked the ball out of bounds which forced them to kick off from their own 20 yard line. The Braves on-sided the ball and Price covered it up at the Braves 44 yard line.
Russell began the drive with two back-to-back rushes for 11 yards. Price caught a pass from Small for 12, followed by a completion to Bacon from Small for another four. Small ran for six on the ground, followed by a pass to Price for another eight yards. Russell picked up a yard on 2nd and 2, followed by a touchdown carry on the next play with the clock reading 9:10. The point after was no good and Boberg kicked the ball to Indian Creek, who returned it to their own 28 yard line as Dalverny made the stop.
A toss run gave the Braves five yards on 1st down, but Ayala was there on the tackle. The Braves could not make any further progress and chose to punt the ball away. The ball flew out of bounds at the Raider 42 yard line.
Again, Russell carried the ball two consecutive times for 15 yards, with Woodcock doing some serious blocking. There was no gain on 2nd down, but Small completed a pass to Price for a 12-yard 1st down, followed by a catch by Egenolf for another three. On 2nd and 7 from the Braves 28 yard line, Bacon completed a pass from Small for another touchdown with 4:33 in the third. The extra point was good, but only after Indian Creek was charged with encroachment and Cardinal Ritter for a false start. Boberg returned the ball to the Braves, who took it to their own 13 before Marlon “Hotshot” Anderson and Tre “Blitzkrieg” Stubbs made the tag team tackle.
The Braves lost three yards on 1st down, followed by an incomplete pass that Knutson nearly picked off. Indian Creek completed a 15-yard pass on 3rd down and Knutson made the stop. The Braves threw an incomplete pass on the next play, but Cardinal Ritter was charged with roughing the passer, giving Indian Creek an automatic 1st down from their own 40 yard line. Giebel and Hunt made the joint tackle on the play after, causing a loss of two. Dalverny, Olejnik, and Knutson fought on defense as the Braves pushed their way down to the Raider 9 yard line. Knutson played tight coverage as Indian Creek threw two incomplete passes. The QB ran the ball for seven on 3rd down, but the Braves lost five afterwards due to a false start. After another incomplete pass, the ball was turned over at the Raider 7 with under a minute in the third quarter.
As the final quarter opened up, Cardinal Ritter threw an incomplete pass. Cam Houston then punted the ball away to the Raider 40 yard line, less than a minute having passed in the fourth.
For the next three minutes, the Braves pushed and shoved and forced their way towards the endzone. Morris, Giebel, Egenolf, Hunt, and the Raider D-line resisted Indian Creek all the way through. With 8:11 left in the game, the Braves scored a touchdown off of a seven-yard run. The 2-point conversion was good and Indian Creek kicked a squib to Egenolf, who recovered it at the Raider 24 yard line.
Small carried the ball for six, followed by a 13-yard run by Russell. Cardinal Ritter lost two on the next play, but Egenolf caught a ball for six yards on a play action pass from Small. Price followed this up with his own completion from Small for a pickup of three. From 4th and 3, Houston went in to punt the ball away. However, on the fake punt pass, the ball fell short and possession was turned over at the 50 yard line with just 4:35 left in the game.
The Braves completed a 14-yard pass on 1st down, but threw an incompletion on the next play. Again, Indian Creek threw the ball, but Woodcock batted it away for no gain. The Braves made another five-yard pass, but Morris was there to make the tackle. After an incomplete pass, the ball changed possession again at the Raider 31 yard line, 3:28 on the clock.
Egenolf ran the ball for 17 yards between the first two plays, followed by a three-yard run by Russell. Cardinal Ritter could not convert, however, and Houston punted the ball to the Braves 9 yard line with 2:10 remaining.
On 1st down, the QB scrambled for three, but met the force of Giebel before he could go any further. On the next play, the quarterback again kept the ball and Rodgers made the tackle for a loss of four. Indian Creek passed the ball from their own 8 and Morris intercepted it and carried it into the end zone for a last-minute Raider touchdown.
The point after was good and Boberg kicked a bullet across the field. The Braves returned the ball to their own 9 yard line and began their final drive.
Indian Creek passed the ball on 1st down for a pickup of six, followed by another completed pass for five, which Knutson stopped on an absolute bulldoze of a tackle. The Braves gained another 1st down off of an 11-yard pass, but threw an incomplete pass on the play after. Indian Creek completed two more passes as the clock slunk down to 0:00.
The final score of the game was 41-22. The Raider Nation was victorious. And a special shoutout and thank you to all our fans and the Lady Raiders who braved the frostbitten air to cheer on our boys in red.
After the game, Dillon Olejnik was asked how it felt to be one step further down the road to state. He answered, “It’s exciting, really. We’ve just got to start looking forward. We won this game, but we’re still 0-0 in our minds. We’ve just got to go on to the next week, we’ve got to prepare for Chatard. It’s going to be a tough matchup. We’re confident,” he continued, “I’m confident in my brothers and my brothers are confident in me. I’m just excited that we won the game.”
Small led the passing attack going 16 for 22 for 166 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to Bacon who had 5 catches for 74 yards. Price added 5 receptions for 39 yards and Woodcock had a solid game catching 4 balls for 46 yards. The ground game was led by Russell who had 70 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown while Small added 56 yards on 11 carries.
The defense was led by Hunt who had 14 total tackles followed by Giebel with 13 tackles including 2 sacks. Kluemper slithered around the defense adding 10 tackles followed by Rodgers with 9 including a sack, Morris (1 interception/ pick 6) and Olejnik with 8 and Ayala, Egenolf, and Woodcock with 7. Woodcock and Egenolf both scored touchdowns on defense with huge momentum swinging plays (Woodcock’s punt block and touchdown and Egenolf’s pick six).
Cardinal Ritter will go on to play the Bishop Chatard Trojans next Friday, November 3, for the Sectionals Championship. The game will be held at North Central High School with a kickoff set for 7 PM. All Tickets are $6 at the gate. Come on out and support your fellow Raiders!