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Varsity Football Slips Up Against the Raiders

Warriors give up lead in the fourth quarter

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Warriors line up to show respect during national anthem.

The Warriors’ varsity football team stained the Bible Stadium with determination and hard work Friday night. Their sweat, kicked-up turf, and several empty rolls of medical tape all evidence left on the field. The team fought a relentless battle against the Rouse Raiders, but suffered a defeat of 21-35.

The Warriors started the game with kickoff, giving the Raiders the first plays of the game. Defensive linemen like Irvin Flores ‘19 stopped Rouse’s running backs from gaining any yardage, allowing a quick turnover for the Warriors. On punt return, Reid Carrier ‘18 ran several yards with the help of Brandon Kothlow ‘18 who protected the receiver with effortless blocks. Quarterback Will Jennings ‘18 lead his team down the field but struggled to find open receivers which forced defense to return to the field. Reed Harrington ‘18 persistently stopped Rouse’s strongest running back, his tackles preventing a touchdown. With Rouse on fourth down, only inches away from a first down, the defensive linemen stopped the Raiders, resulting in a turnover at the ten yard line. Offense dominated the field, took control of the ball and put the Warriors in a good position for the second quarter.

“At the start of the game we really excelled defensively in putting the offense in a good position to score,” Harrington said. “[Rouse] was very heavy in running the ball and that’s what we prepared for and expected to happen.”

The second quarter started with a 79-yard touchdown pass by Jennings to Cameron Thomas ‘18, the score now 7-0. Defense pressured Rouses’ offense and recovered a fumble immediately which brought offense back on the field. An interception brought defense back in, but they were not fazed and shined again on the field. Rouse’s quarterback faked the ball and began running, but didn’t travel far before Harrington stopped him with an aggressive tackle. In the next play Joel Navarro ‘18 had the first sack of the game and put Rouse several yards back. Warrior offense took control of the ball again and slowly made it down the field. They created just enough energy the team needed to spark a change in offense. Jaikem Murphy ‘18 ripped through the defensive line. The Warrior’s racked up another touchdown thrown 15 yards and caught by Matt Pravednikov ‘19. With 1:30 left on the clock, Rouse scored a touchdown and left 14-7 at the end of the first half.

“The team gave it their all,” Thomas said. “Our defense was full of energy, bouncing around and making room for our offense to capitalize. We had our moment where we were stuck, but we tried our best and gave it all we had.”

Thomas ran a 63-yard touchdown pass the second play of the third quarter, a score of 21-7 lit up the board. Rouse came close to the goal line, but Murphy came out of a dog pile with a fumble recovery, the crowd cheering at the sight. Even with their rigorous plays both offensively and defensively, Rouse scored with 1:27 left in the third quarter. Thomas helped the team and gained 50 yards to put them in an excellent position for the fourth quarter, 21-14.

“Cam’s catch was the little confidence booster we needed after struggling the first few drives,” Murphy said. “ We can’t get cocky and underestimate an opponent, because then they outplay us and that’s what we saw.”

Murphy came out with an injury, the team now without their starting running back. The bands and crowd heightened the pressure on the field. Jennings attempted a couple hail mary’s, but came out unsuccessful. A sea of white defensive players chased a Raider as he inched towards the end zone, only Chris Martinez ‘18 was able to reach and tackle him. Rouse scored a touchdown but their extra point was no good, leaving the score at 21-20. Hope stirred the crowd and every Warrior on the field. Rouse caught an interception and ran for another touchdown. They faked an extra point which was thrown and caught past the goal line, gaining two extra points instead of one. Warrior coaches yelled from the sideline telling the athletes to fight to the end. Harrington recovered a fumble at the 32-yard line. Offense gets to fourth and 6, but is unable to make the first down with only inches left. Rouse’s offense hustled and gained a touchdown, ending the game 21-35.

“The little things make a difference. We must execute our assignments and put the game away when given the chance,” Head Coach Anthony Wood said.

The Warrior’s will be ready to redeem themselves next week Sept. 14 against Leander at the John Gupton Stadium at 7:30 p.m.. Go Wood.

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