By: Linsey Waggoner
Pictures By: Lydia Schembre and Denise Kent
The Cardinal Ritter Football Team has been on a two game slide losing to Triton Central 30-20 followed by a loss to Beech Grove on Homecoming 22-19. Both games were eerily similar as the Raiders looked like different teams from the first to second halves.
First the Raiders traveled to Triton Central in a varsity football match-up that saw a CRHS team show signs of greatness. The Raiders started off hot and took a 14-3 lead going into the second half. But they came out in the second half and looked different as they eventually fell to the Tigers 30-20.
Triton Central began with the ball and only got one first down before they gave the ball back to the Raiders. After a few first downs and the offense was rolling, they were faced with a third and long that saw Jack “Rabbit” Henninger complete a pass to Timmy Godsil for a first down, followed by another completion by the duo on the next play to move the chains again. The Raiders were faced with a 4th and short at midfield and opted to punt. But on the snap Ashton “The Round Mound Of Touchdown” Hall took the snap and did what he does best, ran 5 tough yards for the first down to keep the offense rolling.
Unfortunately, on the next play Cardinal Ritter turned the ball over with five minutes to go on the Tigers 30 yard line in the first quarter. After the quick first quarter, the score was deadlocked at zero with Triton Central beginning the second quarter with a third and 24. After a penalty on the first play, the Tigers were forced into third and even longer which the great Raiders defense stopped and got the ball back after 4th down with 11:30 left in the half.
Again, a turnover spoiled Cardinal Ritter’s plans on the first play which saw the Tigers regain possession close to the red zone. The stingy Raider defense did not allow any significant gain on the next drive and forced Triton Central to attempt a field goal. The kick hit the cross bar and barely went in to put the Tigers up 3-0 with 9 minutes to go in the half.
The Raiders answered quickly as they drove down the field and capped the drive off with a Henninger dime to Nick “Slammin” Salmon in the corner of the end zone. After the Ben Valle kick was good the good guys were up 7-3.
CRHS took the momentum in to the next defensive stance and did not allow Triton to do anything which forced them to give the ball back to the Raiders. After a couple of penalties by the Tigers and some long gains, Cardinal Ritter was in scoring position. After a couple of big penalties forced the Raiders into a 3rd and long, Henninger hit one of his favorite targets, Aiden Robinson who made some moves and brought it all the way down to the 2 yard line where he fumbled the ball. Luck happened to be on the Raiders side, as it was scooped up for the Cardinal Ritter touchdown.
The extra point was good by Valle with 10.4 seconds left in the half and the Raiders took the 14-3 lead into the half.
Cardinal Ritter received the ball in the second half and returned it to the 35 yard line but were forced to punt at midfield. The Tigers started their drive on their own 20 with 7:21 left in the third and scored leaving 4 minutes on the clock.
The Tigers scored a few more times as the Raiders failed to kick the offense into full gear until the end where Gavin Crooke punched one into the end zone to give a final score of 30-20.
Henninger led the offense going 20 for 32 on 289 yards and 1 score. Hall led the rushing attack chugging out 44 yards on 10 carries followed by Browder with 7 touches for 32 yards and Crooke with 6 carries for 19 yards and a touchdown. Henninger spread the wealth to his receivers with Robinson leading the way with 5 catches for 112 yards followed by Godsil with 5 catches for 65 yards, Browder with 4 catches for 51 yards and Salmon pulling in 3 balls for 31 yards and a touchdown.
Crooke was a force on defense as well racking up 10 tackles. Parker “Master P” Mead had 6 tackles and Godsil, Jordan Johnson, Antwaan Dix and Austin Sultzer all added 5.
Going into the Homecoming football game this past weekend, the Raiders were feeling the energy from the crowd and ready to get a win on their senior night and last home game of the season. However, the Beech Grove Hornets came out strong in the first quarter, scoring a touchdown within the first few minutes of the game.
The score woke up the Raider offense and Henninger countered this TD with a long pass down the field to Godsil who caught it and went down inside the Red Zone. Henninger then ran in the ball for a Raider touchdown. The game was back and forth from there; with all the homecoming festivities about to commence at halftime, Austin Sultzer got a pick six from the back field and scored a touchdown to put the raiders ahead 13-7 at the half.
After the raiders crowned Elena “The Closer” Closser and Edwin Cruz the homecoming king and queen, it was time to start the 3rd quarter. While the Hornets had a strong offense and managed to score another touchdown, the Cardinal Ritter also managed to run the ball far enough down the field where Henninger could run in the ball for the raiders 3rd touchdown, making the score 19-14 in favor of the Raiders.
Beech Grove had the ball at the 5 yard line when they fumbled it and the ball was once again recovered by Sultzer for the possession of the Raiders. However, this wasn’t enough as Beech Grove regained the ball and took it down the field to score on the raiders and make the score 22-19 with 2 minutes left to go in the 4th quarter. Sultzer had another nice run down the field to try and get another touchdown for a raider victory, but the Raiders were not able to score in the final minutes and ended up losing 22-19.
The defense was outstanding again with Crooke and Dix leading the way with an amazing 15 tackles a piece. Sultzer had the game of his early career with the 2 fumble recoveries, 10 tackles and the touchdown. Mead chipped in 9 tackles, Browder added 7 and KJ Majors, Godsil, and Aaron Roberts all added 5 a piece.
Come and see your Raider boys of fall back in action next week at Bishop Chatard High School against another Indiana Crossroads Conference rival, Scecina, with a 7 pm start time. The student section will be in pink out to honor October as the month of cancer awareness.