Southridge stunned after quick start

Photo by Hunter Tickel/The Herald
Southridge senior Kaden Neukam (18) hauled in five catches for 81 yards and a touchdown in the first half. He added 33 yards and a score on the ground in a 28-21 overtime loss in the sectional opener to Salem in Huntingburg.


HUNTINGBURG — In a rematch of last year’s sectional final, turnovers plagued both teams.

Salem came away with a 28-21 win over Southridge after scoring on its lone play in overtime.

The Raiders (5-5) failed to advance from a sectional opener for the first time in nine years.

“Regardless of what round or what part of this or anything, losing is always tough,” coach Scott Buening said. “It’s never fun. It’s always a hard thing to stomach. We came in here with the expectation to win this football game. Salem’s got a tremendous ballclub, very experienced, a lot of seniors. I’m so proud of our group.”

The teams combined for nine turnovers, five from Southridge.

The game was a stalemate at 14 heading to the fourth quarter.

Salem tacked on a third unanswered touchdown with 10:41 left.

Senior fullback Porter Howey bulldozed to the left, taking multiple Raiders across the plane from the eight.

Sophomore quarterback Hudson Allen threw a pick rolling to his right on the following play from scrimmage.

The Lions returned the favor as a pass to senior wideout Grant Mahuron caromed off his palms to hit a waiting senior defensive back Carter Whitehead in the hands.

Six minutes later, senior slotback Kaden Neukam punched it in from 1 on third down for the team’s first score of the closing half with 3:43 to go. He finished with 114 yards on 11 touches and a pair of scores, while the team was without the services of senior featured back Aiden Jochem due to an elbow injury.

The game carried into overtime. On the opening down, Howey ran downhill for a 10-yard score. He finished with 111 yards on 23 attempts and three touchdowns on a physical day.

Southridge sputtered on its try. Allen was sacked, sophomore Keaton Allen grabbed a six-yard pass, Hudson was sacked again, before he threw a fade to the right corner that sailed over the head of Whitehead.

A 51-yard hookup between Allen and Neukam positioned junior back Reid Schroeder for a 2-yard plunge on the team’s first drive to make it 7-0 with 10:41 left in the first period.

The defense thwarted Salem on a 12-play, 63-yard sequence at the Raiders’ 19. Senior defensive lineman Matt Altmeyer sacked Salem junior quarterback Kaleb Tucker on fourth-and-nine.

The team put together another strong drive that was extended by a two-yard fourth-down carry by sophomore Yamil Arroyo, needing one on the Southridge 48.

Another key conversion came on third down as sophomore Keaton Allen corralled a 17-yard grab on the left sideline on third-and-nine.

Five plays later, Allen connected with his favorite target, Neukam, for an 18-yard score and third-and-eight, on a fade to the corner pylon.

Neukam secured five balls for 81 yards in the first half.

After a stop, the Raiders gave the ball back to the Lions after an Arroyo fumble.

The next seven minutes to close the half went in Salem’s favor as it found the end zone twice to knot the game at 14-all.

Howey plowed down the middle from 17 yards on the first score. Tucker slung it in between the hash marks to Mahuron with no defenders within reach for a 20-yard touchdown.

The receiver snagged five receptions for 55 yards in the opening half.

The tying score came seven seconds before the break.

Takeaways continued to turn this first-round matchup.

On Salem’s opening drive of the third quarter, a short pass to the left to senior wideout Trevon Smedley resulted in a forced fumble.

Smedley had a chance to go down after a six-yard catch but tracked back, in the process the football was jarred loose by multiple Raiders. Senior defensive lineman Cayden Andrews fell on it.

After the Lions got the ball back from a turnover on downs by the Raiders, Salem senior running back Devin Rivers busted loose down the left side for 23 yards on the opening play from scrimmage

Allen had a chance to throw it away until he was crunched and gave it away through the air.

“I think we started out good,” Arroyo said. “They got momentum after (my) fumble (in the second quarter). I feel like we did good. We came back. We stayed together as a team and fought back. That’s all that matters.”

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