Raiders seize 34-14 win over PatsOctober 9, 2020
By JIMMY LAFAKIS
For more photos from the game, click here.
HUNTINGBURG — In an effort to combat the blustery October winds raging across Raider Field, the Southridge Raiders (8-0) stuck to their senior-laden ground game against the Heritage Hills Patriots (3-5) on Friday evening. The Southridge faithful enjoyed glimpses of the present and past during the Raiders’ 34-14 victory over Heritage Hills — the 1970 Huntingburg Happy Hunters were recognized for the 50th anniversary of Huntingburg’s first Pocket Athletic Conference championship during a pregame ceremony.
“We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to do it with the COVID scenarios and all that kind of stuff,” Raiders head coach Scott Buening said. “I was really glad that we had the opportunity to bring that all together tonight. Anytime you’ve got 50 years of anything, that’s pretty special. It was pretty cool to get to meet a few of those guys. I’m glad we got to honor them tonight.
Neither side scored on their respective opening drives, but the Raiders created ample breathing room with three first-half rushing touchdowns. Southridge senior Camden Gasser bounced to the outside, zipped ahead of the pack and crossed the plane for a 77-yard touchdown run at the 6:42 mark in the first quarter.
Eager to follow Gasser’s lead, fellow Southridge seniors Matt Springer and Parker Kippenbrock joined in on the fun during the second quarter. Springer cut upfield and ripped off a 35-yard touchdown run with 6:17 remaining in the half. After a Heritage Hills interception gave Southridge prime field position, Kippenbrock punched in a two-yard score with 4:59 to play in the period.
“They kept cranking,” Buening said. “They kept hanging in there.”
En route to taking a 21-0 halftime lead, Southridge overcame four total fumbles. The Raiders racked up 172 rushing yards during the first two frames. Gasser led the charge with 80 yards on four carries — good for 20 yards per carry.
Indeed, Southridge established the run throughout the first half. With 9:18 remaining in the third period, Raiders senior Chase Taylor linked up with Gasser for a 33-yard touchdown pass.
“At any level of football, you need the ability to generate some big plays,” Buening said. “Football teams are too good down here to just light up and crank four to six yards over and over and over.”
With 3:44 remaining in the third quarter, the Pats got on the board with a 65-yard touchdown pass from senior Jacob Schmidt to junior Luke Rickelman. The Raiders regrouped, and Springer added a nine-yard rushing score at the 1:46 mark.
As the fourth quarter began, Southridge held a 34-7 lead. Heritage Hills sophomore Shane Staples added a three-yard rushing touchdown with just 14 seconds to play, but the Raiders’ lead loomed too large.
Although Southridge encountered some difficulties, the Raiders remained tenacious throughout the contest.
“In our offense, we don’t really have a featured guy,” Buening said. “We take however we’re being defended. We try to tailor our play calls to try to take advantage of things that they’re trying to take away. When you have options like that — different guys that you can run in different places — it is a luxury.”
After the game concluded, Pats head coach Todd Wilkerson touched on his desire for a more focused effort from the group.
“On a big stage like this with a big opportunity to play a great team, they gave us a chance,” he said. “We couldn’t take it. That’s disappointing. We have to get that fixed in two weeks.”
Both teams will return on Friday, Oct. 16. Southridge will travel to Forest Park, while Heritage Hills will head to Princeton.
“I think there were a lot of questions this year with this group,” Buening said. “I’ve just been really proud of them. They’ve worked hard. We don’t always have great days, we don’t always have great practices and we don’t always have great games. They care about each other. They work hard together. They’re not interested in statistics or any of those categorical things. They just want to win football games.”
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