Raiders bounce back, win home openerAugust 27, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
HUNTINGBURG - During Friday's first quarter, nothing seemed to go Southridge's way, but everything changed from the second quarter on.
The Raiders (1-1) had some turnovers against Boonville, just like they did Aug. 20 at Linton-Stockton, but this week, they held it all under control. Southridge wrote the ship after a tough opening quarter to avoid falling to 0-2 for the first time since 2007 with a 30-15 win.
"That was on us, and just I think a little excited, a little overzealous, playing maybe a little fast," Southridge coach Scott Buening said. "But ultimately, I felt the guys settled in and they just kept working, kept fighting and good things happened tonight.
Southridge senior Aidan Jochem had himself a big night - rushing for 140 yards and three touchdowns, but didn't quite get off to the greatest start. Jochem fumbled on the team's opening drive, which Boonville junior Elijah Biggins recovered.
A pair of Raider turnovers helped do them in in their 27-13 loss to the Miners, and the Pioneers capitalized off the Jochem fumble by driving to the end zone - capped off by junior Carter Wolfe catching a pass from senior quarterback Mason Phillips for the touchdown.
"Obviously, I was mad I fumbled, but I knew if I kind of dwelled on being mad the whole time, that would've deteriorated my play," Jochem said.
It looked like the Raiders were going to respond later in the quarter, and Jochem appeared to be in for his first touchdown of the evening. However, he had to wait a bit for his official score. A holding call against Southridge negated the touchdown, followed by a procedural penalty that again kept Southridge out of the end zone.
Boonville junior Cooper Aigner then proceeded to pick off Southridge junior quarterback Levi Neukam the very next play.
Unlike on the fumble, the Raiders did not allow the Pioneers to score. Southridge kept knocking at the door - turning it over on downs in the red zone in the second quarter, but backing up the Pioneers into their own end zone. A botched punt put the Raiders back in the red zone, and then, Jochem finally found paydirt - as the tide began to turn.
"I credit our team for that," Buening said. "I credit our seniors, I credit our leaders, I credit the kids on the field."
Jochem ran 16 yards for his first score of the game, and senior Max Jessee knotted with a PAT with 4:17 to go in the first half. The Raiders stalled out the Pioneers again, and Jochem would run 20 yards for his second touchdown of the night with 1:20 left in the half. Jessee's extra point attempt was blocked, but the Raiders held the lead and never looked back.
A Boonville fumble on the kickoff led to Southridge taking over, and the Raiders put on three more points from a 31-yard field goal by Jessee as time expired. The Pioneers did them a favor by jumping offside before Jessee was set to try, giving Southridge a shorter try.
The Pioneers were keying in on Jochem. So, when Southridge's defense forced Boonville to turn it over on downs, fellow senior Kaden Neukam took a 58-yard run to the house on the first play afterward. It was a 23-7 lead with 6:15 to go in the third.
Jochem had his third rushing score of the game following a fumble recovery. Senior Jacob Heidorn coughed away the football on a completed pass from Phillips, allowing Southridge sophomore Yamil Arroyo to scoop the ball away. Southridge chipped away until Jochem ran three yards with 5:17 to go in the game - his fifth rushing touchdown in two games.
"He's a good player," Buening said of Jochem. "He's a big, strong kid. He's really athletic, he can really run. Going into the season, I really didn't know that he had the vision and the instincts that he did at running back, and he has shown to be really good with the ball in his hands."
Southridge will hope to keep this going and build off of its first victory, as the team is scheduled to be back at it Sept. 3 at North Posey.
"It was nice to be able to come home, it was nice to be able to feel good, get a win - but they won't have any problem turning the page," Buening said. "It's a good win, we're happy with the win, but we know we got a really good North Posey team coming up next week. So, we'll be able to turn the page quickly."
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