Big hearts beat in Southridge win

Photos by Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Southridge’s Matt Springer scores a touchdown during Friday’s football game in Boonville. Southridge defeated Boonville 28-0. For more photos from the game, click here.


BOONVILLE — Little guys with big hearts.

That’s how Quinn Barnett, a Southridge senior who starts on both the offensive and defensive lines, describes this year’s Raider football team. He knows his teammates are physically undersized.

But he also knows they’re loaded with determination.

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Southridge (2-0) dominated in a 28-0 win against the Boonville Pioneers (1-1) on Friday night — largely thanks to the team’s offensive and defensive lines, which led the Raiders to big scores on one side and held stud running back Devin Mockobee scoreless on the other.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who really shouldn’t be able to play at this level on the offensive line,” Raider Coach Scott Buening said after the game. “Guys small in stature, big of heart. And I really think both sides of the ball — offensive line, defensive line — were a big part of tonight.”

Southridge received the opening kick and started the game with a bang when senior running back Matt Springer sliced through the Pioneer defense on fourth down for a 36-yard touchdown run.

The Raiders never lost the lead. A day before the teams took the field, Buening spoke of how preparing for Mockobee — who has committed to play football at Navy — was hard because the standout senior can’t be emulated in practice.

“He’s got tremendous, tremendous speed,” Buening said. “He’s one of the fastest kids I think I’ve seen on film in quite some time. He outruns angles. He’s a physical kid, and not afraid to hit you and run through tackles and get his pads down.”

Southridge’s Offensive Coordinator Brad Ohanian cheers with the team after their win in Boonville on Friday. Southridge defeated Boonville 28-0. For more photos from the game, click here.

Southridge’s second drive ended just a few plays after it began — with a monster 68-yard run by senior running back Camden Gasser, making the score 14-0. Boonville responded with a tough-fought march, but the offense ultimately sputtered out near midfield following a holding penalty.

Leyton Lauderdale is another Raider senior who starts on both Southridge lines. Thursday, he said that watching Boonville film gave him chills. He also said that after Southridge got a few plays under their belts, they’d calm down and “realize that we can get the job done.”

“We’re not putting drives together,” Lauderdale said after Friday’s game. “We’re putting Raider drives together. It’s what we do. And we’ve just got to take it to them every time.”

The second quarter saw more Southridge scoring, with a 6-yard touchdown run by Chase Taylor making the lead 21-0. A Pioneer fumble on the following kickoff led to a Raider drive that sputtered out on the Boonville 34-yard line.

Boonville would turn the ball over again near the end of the second quarter — this time in an interception thrown to Gasser. No more scoring took place before the half, though, with the Raiders entering the locker room with a three-touchdown lead.

Southridge poured on more at the beginning of the second half; Gasser scored on a 9-yard run about four minutes into the third quarter. It marked the last score of the contest.

The Raiders held the Pioneers to 144 total yards. Mockobee rushed for 102 yards.

Like Barnett, Buening also recognizes that his team isn’t filled with the biggest players. But he also knows that isn’t the only factor that determines success.

“We’re an undersized team,” Buening said in a Thursday phone call. “We’ve got guys that are 160, 170 pounds playing up on the D-line.”

He continued: “What they lack in size, I think they make up with heart and desire and effort. They play hard — they are good athletes.”

For more photos from the game, click here.

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