Pictures By: Lydia Schembre
The Cardinal Ritter Football Team upped their winning streak to 2 games while pushing their record to 3-2 with a win over non-conference opponent Lapel on Friday. The game was back and forth until the end of the 4th quarter when the Raiders broke away from the Bulldogs to pull out the 21-13 win.
The name of the game for the Raiders was ball control as they pounded the ball on the ground behind Ashton “The Round Mound of Touchdown” Hall and the two sophomore sensations Justin Browder and Gavin Crooke. Browder and Hall have proved to be Cardinal Ritter’s rushing equivalent to the “Thunder and Lightning” attacks of the 2002-2009 eras of the USC and Tennessee Titans. Browder has been able to gash defenses for long runs while Hall has been able to pick up the tough yards on big downs.
Browder was running all over the Lapel defense as he helped bring the Raiders into the red zone multiple times. Hall got the scoring started in the middle of the 2nd quarter as he ran for a tough 4 yards for the score. After the Ben Valle extra point, the Raiders were up 7-0.
The Raiders were close to scoring at the end of the 1st half, but the flags were thrown on multiple possessions which brought the Raiders back and forth and eventually out of scoring position. The series of plays did not result in a score, but it helped Cardinal Ritter gain momentum for the second half.
The play went back and forth for the entirety of the third quarter, then Lapel drew first blood in the second half with a 14 yard run to tie the game at 7.
The Raiders answered by scoring with their other dynamic duo. Jack “Rabbit” Henninger played Batman as he threw a 9 yard touchdown pass to Aiden “Robin”-son. After a Valle kick Cardinal Ritter was up 14-7.
The offense was now clicking on all cylinders as they got the ball back from Lapel and scored by pushing the ball down the field by air and land. This was capped off by another touchdown by “RMOT” to put the Raiders up 21-7.
Cardinal Ritter wanted to keep possession of the ball for as long as they could and they did which kept the outstanding defense fresh throughout. The Raiders “D” came up big any time they needed a play and forced the Bulldogs to turn the ball over on downs multiple times. This was the case throughout the second half, especially at the end which resulted in sealing the victory for the home team.
At the end the Raiders sang their rollicking song and swept along, swaggering boisterously by joining the band, cheerleaders and fans in the school fight song.
The defense, which has been stellar all year has been able to perform as an entire unit without relying on one player to make all of the plays. Friday was no different as 8 players had 4 or more tackles on the day. Parker “Master P” Mead led all players with 7 tackles, 5 being solo and showed the type of senior leadership that teams rally behind. Antwaan Dix and Timmy Godsil were right behind Mead with 6 tackles. Crooke, Browder, KJ Majors, James Hawsaw and Hall all contributed 4 tackles a piece.
The defense neutralized the Bulldogs potent passing attack by putting pressure on the quarterback and not allowing more than dinks and dunks around the goal line. When Lapel’s quarterback took more than a 1 step drop he was met by the Raiders who would knock him round and upside down to the tune of 5 sacks. A majority of those sacks came from Dix, with the tremendous amount of pressure he put on the QB and was seemingly in on every play.
The offense was led by the running attack of “Thunder and Lightning” as Browder ran for 141 yards on 21 carries and Hall ran for 65 yards on 10 carries while scoring 2 touchdowns. Henninger had another good game to build off of as he threw for 157 yards, 1 touchdown and no picks. Crooke rushed 4 times for 4 yards while adding another 23 yard catch. Robinson was nearly unstoppable catching 7 balls for 131 yards.