Patriots fend off Raiders' rallyOctober 8, 2021
By HUNTER TICKEL
LINCOLN CITY — With Southridge lingering against Heritage Hills late in the fourth quarter, the Patriots sprung a pair of game-changing plays.
First, Heritage Hills (6-2) senior Clay Radigan collected a screen on the left, slipped free of the initial tackle for a 33-yard gain, down the sideline.
Senior quarterback Luke Rickelman put the exclamation on the game-clinching drive by bouncing to the outside on the right for a 21-yard score.
Both offenses were sputtering after a combined scoreless third frame.
The Raiders put together a 15-play drive that was capped by a snag at the near pylon on one knee by senior Carter Whitehead.
An unsuccessful onside kick followed by a turnover on downs by the Raiders ended the game.
The twin brothers Skyler and Shane Staples wreaked havoc with solid footwork, too. The juniors both plunged into the end zone from inside the five in the first half to put the Patriots up 14-0.
Skyler was positioned for the goal-line score on the first scoring drive as senior Luke Rickelman burst free for a 38-yard pickup, on a two-play drive.
Skyler scored from three, at the 8:45 mark of the first quarter. He crossed the pylon for the ninth time this year, while recording 357 yards for a 5.75 average on the ground.
Shane, who flashed his elusiveness when he picked up nine yards on a botched pitch in the backfield, before scoring from four yards with 4:47 left in the half.
He's amassed 298 yards rushing with seven scores this campaign. This was the fifth time that the brothers have scored in the same game.
Southridge (4-4) only had one trip to the red zone in the first half. It finished with a touchdown with 12 seconds left in the second quarter as junior tailback Reid Schroeder set up his one-yard push into the end zone with another one-yard rush on third-and-1 from the two.
"Getting the ball is one thing, but the guys pushing me from the back made it possible to get it past that touchdown line," Schroeder said. "Without those guys pushing me, I don't think it would have been possible."
Schroeder touched the ball six times on the drive, including a 28-yard snag on 3rd-and-3 to move to the Pats' 45.
The Raiders' deepest drive prior to that resulted in a fumble by Schroeder at the 24. Junior Shane Staples of the Patriots jarred the football loose, and it was scooped up by junior Dakota Boerste, with 5:16 left in the first frame.
"Honestly, I feel like I've been in a couple car accidents," Schroeder said. "They are a really good football team. They hit hard. We've got some things to improve on."
Senior Aidan Jochem led the team with 66 rushing yards for 814 on the season.
The Patriots now lead the series with the Raiders 38-15. It's been a year of redemption for the Patriots as they have reversed the results against Tell City and Boonville, in addition to Southridge.
"It's been great," Heritage Hills coach Todd Wilkerson said of the turnaround. "I wish we would have got out of the gate on that first week. With Mt. Vernon, we had a bad game, but it's really been nice coming through. Anytime you beat a program like Southridge it's a big deal. Our kids understand that. They are our neighbors up the road. They got history, we do too."
The Raiders won last year's matchup, 34-14.
The draw for the tourney is on Sunday at 5 p.m., it will be live streamed on IHSAAtv.org. Both of these teams are in Sectional 32 in Class 3A.
The final week of the regular season pits Heritage Hills against Princeton. Southridge hosts Forest Park.
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