Pictures By: Lydia Schembre
The Cardinal Ritter Football Team has extended its winning streak into the Sectional Tournament. After beating Scecina, the team traveled to Cascade to lay a beat down on the Cadets and followed that up with a win at George Washington High School in a physical battle to place themselves in the Sectional Semi Final on Friday.
The Raiders marched into Cascade knowing that they needed to gain some momentum heading into the Sectionals the following week. Unfortunately, the Raiders came out and turned the ball over to the Cadets in their first possession. The “Pirates of the Pigskin” defense held strong as always and the Raiders got the ball back and marched it right down the field for a score behind a long run by Gavin Crooke and two passes from Jack “Rabbit” Henninger to Aiden Robenson. The second pass was a Raider touchdown and after the kick from Ben Valle, the score was 7-0 good guys.
The defense did not let the Cadets gain an inch the next possession and gave the ball back to the Raider offense which made quick work scoring on the next play with a pass from Henninger to Brayden “Pass Catcher” Pagel and after the next kick by Valle the Raiders were up 14-0 and looked to be cruising. Cardinal Ritter took the same score into the second quarter and looked to do more damage, but Cascade had other plans. After a botched play, the Cadets got the ball on the 45 yards line and threw a bomb for a touchdown and a 14-7 score with 11:38 in the half, a score that would remain for the rest of the half.
The third quarter started and the Raiders offense still wasn’t clicking yet and the Cadets took advantage, scoring and tying the game at 14. This might have been exactly what Cardinal Ritter needed as this was the spark that fueled them the rest of the game. Right after, the Raiders scored to put themselves up 20-14 after a long pass from Henninger to Robinson, Timmy Godsil hauled in a 28 yard pass for the touchdown.
The fourth quarter was completely dominated by the Raiders as the Cadets couldn’t gain ground on offense and Cardinal Ritter picked apart the opposing defense in the running game with the “Thunder and Lightning” combination of Justin Browder and Ashton “The Round Mound of Touchdown” Hall each scoring in the quarter to put the game out of reach.
The final was 33-14 and the Raiders looked poised to make a deep run into the tournament.
The offense was led by Henninger who threw for 231 yards and 3 touchdowns. Robinson led the receivers with 107 yards on 5 catches and 1 touchdown. Right behind him was Pagel who had 2 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. Browder, Godsil, and Gavin Crooke all pulled in one ball for 38, 28 and 11, respectively. The ground game ended up balancing the offense and aided in big gains late with Crooke leading the way with 88 yards on 17 carries. Hall was a beast in the short yard game as always carrying the ball 8 times for 44 yards and a score. Browder was able to have a couple quick burst runs, with 8 carries for 19 yards and Austin Sultzer had 8 carries for 31 yards.
The defense was led by sack master Antwaan Dix racking up 10 total tackles with 5 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. Hall had 3 tackles for a loss and 2 sacks for 5 total tackles on the game. Crooke and Parker “Master P” Mead each had 8 tackles, Godsil had 5, KJ Majors had 4 and Sultzer, Aaron Roberts and James Highsaw each had 3.
The Raiders came back and played a physical, athletic Washington team with much to prove. It was a total team win, but Gavin Crooke had arguably his best game in his young Raider career rushing the ball 14 times for 116 yards and a touchdown, catching 1 ball for 49 yards and leading the defense in tackles with 8.
Washington came out and hit the Raiders in the mouth, as Cardinal Ritter looked stunned at first because they could not gain traction on the offensive end. Finally in the end of the second quarter, the Raiders scored to go into halftime with a 7-0 lead.
Washington came out in the second half and stifled the Raiders, using another boxing analogy, they counter punched with everything they had which put Cardinal Ritter into the ropes looking to come back swinging. The Continentals scored, which the Raiders countered with a score of their own putting the score at 14-6. The Continentals still had fight as they scored one more time in the third quarter. After the 2 point conversion, the score was evened at 14 going into the 4th quarter.
The 4th quarter looked like two heavyweights standing in the middle of the ring, trading punches without either giving up. The teams continued to gain momentum, then were forced to punt, or turned it over on downs, but neither team could punch the ball in. The fight in the trenches led by Jacob “Forever” Young and Aaron “A-Rock” Roberts was nasty until the Raiders finally scored behind their line to put the score at 21-14, a score they secured until the final whistle.
Grooke was the talk after the game, but several Raiders contributed in the win. Hall helped carry the load again with 70 yards on 16 carries and the 1 touchdown while Robinson had 2 rushes for 20 yards on Jet sweeps.
Henninger threw for a touchdown and 88 yards, with Robinson being his safety blanket, hauling in 4 receptions for 24 yards and a touchdown. Crooke had the long catch and Godsil added a catch for 15 yards.
The killer d, had help from all sides, with Antwann Dix sacking the quarterback 1 time en route to 6 tackles. KJ Majors had a big interception in addition to his 4 tackles. Also leading the team in tackles was Austin Sultzer and Parker Mead with 6, Jordan Johnson with 5, Godsil with 4 and Hall, Isaac Jzar, Aaron Roberts and James Highsaw with 3 a piece.
The Raiders will be back in action Friday at 7 when they take on Greencastle at Marian University. This is a tournament game so ALL tickets are $6.