Big plays propel Raiders over Chargers

Photos by Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Southridge's Aidan Jochem, center, is congratulated by Ricky Pflanz and Jadon Culbertson as Camden Gasser, left, looks on after Jochem's fumble recovery for a touchdown during Friday's football game in Huntingburg. Southridge defeated Pike Central 70-3. For more photos from the game, click here.


HUNTINGBURG — After stripping the football away from a Pike Central running back Wyatt Frasure and scampering in for a touchdown, Southridge sophomore linebacker Aiden Jochum praised his teammates.

Following his second fumble recovery for a touchdown — which took place on the ensuing kickoff — the sophomore linebacker just couldn’t believe it.

And then when he scooped up a third loose ball and ran it into the Chargers’ endzone, well, that was just outrageous.

“I was just thanking my team,” said Jochem, a sophomore linebacker. “Thinking I should go buy a lottery ticket or something. Just my lucky day.”

The Raiders (7-1, 5-1) dominated the Chargers (0-8, 0-7) by a score of 70-3 in a chilly, blustery game on Friday night. Big plays from Jochem and senior running back Cole Calvert propelled the team to its high-scoring pummeling.

“Those two guys, they’re guys that really fit our program well,” said Southridge Coach Scott Buening, admitting that he’d never before seen a performance like Jochem’s. “They’re tough kids. They’re hard-nosed kids. They’re totally selfless kids.”

After forcing a three-and-out in Pike Central’s first possession of the game, Southridge jumped out to a quick touchdown lead after Cole Calvert muscled his way in for the first score. The Chargers responded with a field goal, but Calvert would score again, and again before the end of the first half.

“Let’s keep it going,” Calvert said of his mentality when the Raiders started pouring it on. “Let’s keep putting more on the board.”

He doesn’t keep track, but he totaled four touchdowns on 84 yards rushing in Friday’s Pocket Athletic Conference faceoff. Midway through the second quarter, senior wide receiver Garrett Voegerl fought for a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Carson Niehaus, and Austin Burton also tacked on a running score of his own less than two minutes into the second half. Senior running back Cort Gerber darted in for a touchdown in the game’s waning seconds.

Postgame, Buening explained he felt his team started slow and didn’t have the same edge that is a Southridge hallmark. But eventually, the Raiders found their groove and forced the clock to run for the entirety of the third and fourth quarters.

“Overall, I’m very happy with the guys,” Buening said. “They came out, they did what they needed to do. Honestly, I’ve got a lot of respect for Pike Central and their kids. They’re having a tough year, but those guys play hard.”

The weather did play a role — temps hovered below 50 at kickoff and rain fell for much of the game — and Buening said the conditions hindered both teams’ ability to pass the football.

“It was windy, it was hard to get a handle on the ball,” he said. “It was hard to get a good grip with the rain and the win and all that stuff. I don’t know that it really affected our performance at all, but it certainly affected the way that we approached the game, I think, tonight.”

Jochem and Calvert said the planned on celebrating the team’s beatdown win by taking warm showers, drinking hot chocolate and wrapping up in blankets. They’ve seen the Raiders grow over the course of the season, and they’re eager to move forward.

Next Friday, Southridge will play Gibson Southern (6-2, 5-1) at Raider Field at 7:30 p.m.

Southridge's Cole Calvert runs the ball during Friday's football game in Huntingburg. Southridge defeated Pike Central 70-3. For more photos from the game, click here.

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