- Jim Townsend
Raiders Shut Out OE in Season Opener
The Raiders received the 7:00 PM kick off and quickly went to work on offense. Starting on their own 36-yard line, the Portland offense quickly moved down the field. The 64-yard drive was capped off when senior QB Owen Russell tucked the ball and scrambled into the end zone for an 18-yard TD run with 9:18 remaining in the first quarter. The point after kick by junior Cameron Roof was good, putting the Raiders up 7-0.
Roof put the ensuing kick off into the endzone and OE started their first drive at their own 20. The Raider defense started off with high intensity, forcing the Marauders to punt. The snap was mishandled by the OE punter and Portland Senior David Svanda recovered the ball on the OE 29.
The Raiders failed to get a first down and went for a field goal, but that attempt was wide with 3:08 remaining in the first.
OE started their possession on their own 20 and that drive was ended when seniors Chris Teachout and Kobe Kazamer led the Raider defense in stopping the Marauders.
OE’s ensuing punt was short and the Raider offense took over on the OE 39. The Raider drive featured a great run by senior Gavin McGregor for a first down around the right side of the line. The Raiders would then score on an 18-yard TD pass from Russell to senior Blake Meyers with 11:43 left in the second. Roof connected on the point after putting the Raiders up 14-0.
A series of penalties called on OE put them in a 4th and 28 situation, but the Raiders fumbled the punt return and OE recovered on their own 46.
The Marauder momentum was short lived as Portland senior Brody Smith intercepted a pass. Portland would soon capitalize when Meyers ran it in from seven yards out. Rood connected for another PAT and the Raiders led 21-0 with 2:24 remaining in the second quarter.
At 8:02 PM, as the Raiders lined up to kick off to OE, mother nature interfered with a magnificent lightning display that would last for hours. The line of storms that had been tracking to miss Portland to the North started dipping South and caused play to be suspended
At approximately 11:30 PM, play resumed with Portland up 21-0 and 2:24 remaining in the second quarter.
The OE offense continued to struggle after starting on their own 10 and quickly punted.
Portland would start on their own 44 with 0:23 left before halftime, but was unable to score.
OE received the second half kick and started on their own 14, and the stingy Raider defense forced another punt.
Portland started on their own 40 but fumbled and OE recovered at the Portland 45. The Marauders again failed to capitalize on the momentum shift, and the Raider defense held once again.
In the next possession, the Raiders would have their longest drive of the night. Starting at their own 16 just before the end of the third, the Raiders would march 84 yards, and finally punch it in when Svanda crossed the goal line on a 12-yard pass with 11:54 remaining in the fourth. Roof nailed the PAT and the Raiders extended their lead to 28-0.
Roof took the following kick off as chance to show off his leg strength as he once again kicked the ball through the OE end zone.
OE started on heir own 20, but continued to struggle with the dominate Portland defense.
On the next Raider possession, kicker Roof lined up as a running back and scampered for the Raiders longest run of the night, a 74-yard TD run. He then made good on the extra point and the Raiders led 35-0 with 7:23 left in the game.
Neither team would make much progress in the final minutes of the game, and as the game clock expired at 12:40 AM, five hours and forty minutes after the game started, the Raiders earned a 35-0 victory.
Rushing leaders for the Raiders were Meyers who carried the ball 13 times for 84 yards, and Roof with two carries for 72 yards. Russell went five for 10 passing for 90-yard two TD's.
The Raider defense held the Marauders to 60 yards of total offense. Senior Carson Frewen led with nine tackles. Teachout tallied five tackles, two of them for losses, and one sack. Svanda had six tackles and one fumble recovery.
After the game, Raider Head Coach John Novara told the Beacon, “It was a weird start to the season. The kids came out fast. Our first drive was incredible and we went down right away and scored. OE is a tough, physical football team all the time and the sold out to stop the run and we were able to pass the ball ok. Obviously, our defense played great tonight. I am proud of our efforts. We have a lot of stuff to work on. We will look at the film and make some improvements. I thought overall it was a good start for us. The kids played hard and a bit better than I had thought they would.”
The Raiders are now 1-0 on the season and will host DeWitt next Friday night. DeWitt traveled to Traverse City Central on Thursday night and picked up a 31-26 win.
Thursday night was Jr. Raider night at PHS where the 4th-8th grade youth football players and cheer leaders are recognized before the game.
As you may have already heard, the youth football family in mid-Michigan lost a fine young man on Wednesday. 13-year-old Skylar Lasby of Saranac collapsed at practice during a non-contact drill. Skylar, a 7th grader at Saranac Jr./Sr. High School, was airlifted by helicopter to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital and passed away later that night.
During the first half of the varsity game, groups of Jr. Raiders walked around the stadium with helmets collecting donations for the Lasby family. Both Portland and Ovid Elsie fans were very generous and the Jr. Raiders collected more than $1,900.
Thursday was also the first game in the newly renovated PHS football stadium. Spectators were able to finally enjoy the bond funded improvements including the new entry gates, new visitor area concessions and restrooms, expanded home restrooms, and expanded home bleachers. While there is some details work left to be done, the stadium looks fantastic.