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  • Jim Townsend

Raiders Fall to Mason 21-17

The Raider football team traveled to Mason on Friday night for a battle of unbeatens. Each team was 7-0 and the outright champions of their respective CAAC divisions. Despite tying the contest multiple times, Portland would come up short, falling to the Bulldogs 21-17.

Mason would kick off to Portland to start the game. Portland would start on their own 35 after Mason kicked the ball out of bounds. The Raiders were able to move the ball a bit, but after senior QB Owen Russell was sacked on third and five, the Raiders would be forced to punt.

After a short return by Mason senior Jedian Acevedo, the Bulldogs would start in their own 36. On third and eight, Raider senior linebacker Brady Frewen would sack Mason junior QB Chance Strickland pushing the Bulldogs into a fourth and 16, and Mason would punt for the first time of the evening. After a bit of razzle dazzle by the Raider return team at their own 35, senior Gavin McGregor would break free from the Bulldog punt coverage team to scurry 65 yards for a touchdown. Junior kicker Cameron Roof would connect on the point after, putting the Raiders up 7-0 with 7:25 remaining in the first quarter.

After the Portland kick off, Mason would start on their own 20. A nice tackle by senior Kobe Kazamer and an incomplete pass by Strickland would push the Bulldogs into a 3rd and 11 situation, but the Bulldogs were able to connect on the following pass play giving them a first down on their own 31. The Bulldogs were able to pick up two more first downs and were able to move to the ball to the Portland 42. The Raider defense was then able to push Mason to 4th and 22, and an eventual punt.

Portland would start on their own 23 with 58 seconds left in first. As the second quarter began, the Raider drive was not able to pick up any steam and they would need to punt.

Mason would start their drive on their own 42 with 11:06 remaining in the second. After a flag for holding and two incomplete passes, Portland senior Brody Smith would knock down a screen pass putting the Bulldogs in a 4th and 17 situation on their own 35.

After the Mason punt, Portland would start on their own 30 with 9:31 on the clock. On the first play of the drive, the Raiders would fumble and Mason would recover, taking over at the Raiders 32. The Bulldogs would then try a bit of razzle dazzle of their own, running a reverse flea flicker, but Portland’s McGregor would intercept the pass in his own endzone.

Portland would start on their own 20 with 9:12 remaining in the second, but would quickly be forced to punt.

Mason would fair catch the punt on their own 44. On third and eight, Mason would pass for another first down moving the ball to the Portland 39. The Raider defense was then able to force the Bulldogs into a 4th and one, but Bulldog QB Strickland would be able to keep the ball and run for a first down, setting Mason in a first and ten on the Raider 25. The Portland defense was once again to push the Bulldogs into a fourth down situation, this time 4th and three, but Strickland was able to connect with senior Chase Nowicki for a first down on the Portland seven-yard line. Two plays later Mason senior running back Mason McGuire would punch it into the Raider endzone with a four-yard TD run. Mason senior kicker Aidan Longpre would connect on the point after and with 1:12 remaining in the first half, the score would be tied 7-7.

Portland would start on their own seven and after being pushed into a 4th and nine, the Raiders would punt the ball out of bounds as the first half came to an end.

The second half of play would begin with Portland kicking off to Mason and the Bulldog offense starting on their own 25. The Raider defense was able to hold, and Mason would punt.

The Raiders would start on their own 15. On a third and one play, Russell would keep the ball on a run around the right side of his line to pick up a big gain and move the ball to Mason’s 48. Unfortunately for Portland, the drive would stall and the Raiders would punt once again.

The Bulldogs would take over at their own 20 with 7:01 left in the third. After two big first down pass plays, Mason would march into Raider territory. The Portland defense would hold for a moment pushing Mason to 4th and one, but Mason senior Bryce DeKett would run the ball down to the Raider 33. From there Strickland would connect with Acevedo for a 33-yard TD pass. Lonpre would connect on the PAT, and with 2:01 remaining in the third, Mason would lead 14-7.

On the ensuing kickoff, McGregor and the Raider special teams would come up huge again as McGregor would run the kick back for his second touchdown of the night. Roof nailed the point after and the score was tied 14-14 with 1:48 remaining in the third.

Roof would put the kickoff into the Mason endzone and the Bulldogs would start on their own 20. As the game moved into the fourth quarter of play, the Bulldogs would find themselves in a 4th and 20 situation and would punt the ball back to Portland with 11:46 remaining in the game.

Russel would connect with senior Blake Meyers for a 33-yard pass and McGregor would then run the ball to the Mason four-yard line. The Raiders were able to move the ball to a 4th and goal on the Bulldog one. Both teams would exchange penalties and the Raiders would then be sitting 4th and goal on the four. The Raiders would elect to go for a field goal and Roof connected on the 20-yard field goal attempt. The Raiders would take the lead 17-14 with 8:15 left in the game.

Roof put the following kick off into the Mason endzone and the Bulldogs would start on their own 20. A pass interference call on the Raiders would put Mason first and 10 on their 35. A key tackle by Portland’s Brody Smith would set up 3rd and five and an incomplete pass would put Mason at 4th and five where they opted to punt to Portland.

The Raider offense would take over at their own 30 with 6:37 left to play. Russell would connect with Meyers for one first down, then McGregor for another first down, moving Portland to the Mason 40. Russell would then connect with Meyers and senior Jordan Selby to set up first and 10 on the Mason 15. The Bulldog defense would then put together a stand of their own, and the Raiders would turn the ball over on downs at the Mason 20 with 2:56 remaining in the game.

Portland’s Smith would make another huge defensive play when he knocked down another Bulldog screen pass, but a few plays later Strickland connected with Acevedo across the middle and Acevedo would run the ball down to the Portland one-yard line. The Bulldog’s Mason McGuire would then punch it in form one yard out. Longpre would connect on the point after, giving Mason a 21-17 lead with only 2:30 remaining.

Mason put their kickoff into the Raider endzone and Portland would start on their own 20. After being ran out of the pocket and two incomplete passes, Russell would connect with sophomore Ethan Patrick for a first down on the Portland 44. Three plays later Mason junior Ethan Bond would put an end to the Portland drive when he intercepted Russell’s pass with 1:09 left in the game.

Mason’s Strickland would take a knee twice to end the game and the Bulldogs would remain unbeaten with a 21-17 win.

Mason will travel Eaton Rapids next week to end their regular season. The Greyhounds are 2-6 on the year.

Portland will travel to Montague next week to face the powerful Wildcats. Montague is 6-2 with losses to state ranked Muskegon Oakridge in overtime in week five, and to Ravenna in week six.

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