CEDAR HILL — The plan for the night was simple. Travel to Cedar Hill and get a non-conference solid win against Jo Byrns without suffering additional injuries. Coach Dobbs wanted to focus on protecting the football and finishing tackles before heading into a “murders row” of conference games against Huntland, Richland, and Mount Pleasant to end the regular season. And then the rain started.
The (2-4, 1-3) Raiders got the win 34-7 win over the Red Devils … but it was ugly.
On their very first possession on a soggy field with light rain still pouring down, the Raiders fumbled in the red zone. Three plays later, Jo Byrns returned the favor when they bumbled the snap on a first down. Dylan Scruggs recovered the ball and Tyler Smith ran it 40 yards on the next play for a touchdown. Chase Bradford’s PAT was good to make it Raiders 7, Red Devils 0.
Two series, two turnovers.
Hayden Carter and Raider Center Zach Carawan then got two huge stops to force a Red Devil punt.
On the very next Raider first and ten, Tyler Smith ran 84 yards for another six. Chase Bradford’s PAT sailed through the upright to make the score Raiders 14, Red Devils 0 at the end of the first quarter.
The temperatures then began to drop in Cedar Hill. At kickoff, the temp hovered near 80. By the beginning of the second quarter, it approached the mid-fifties and started raining again … both actual raindrops and turnovers.
The Raiders fumbled right out of the gate and the Red Devils recovered. But as the radio broadcaster said, “Cedar Hill just doesn’t want to accept our Christmas presents,” and the Red Devils went three and out.
Two series later, Tyler Smith and Kyler Parker combined to get the Raiders into the red zone. On first and five from the 13, Parker punched it in for a touchdown to make it Raiders 20, Red Devils 0. The PAT was no good. It was Chase Bradford’s second miss of the regular season.
After halftime, the Red Devils fumbled again on their opening series. This time, Donivan Pearson scooped and scored. Bradford added the extra point to give the Raiders a 27-0 lead. Jo Byrns finally got on the board on their next series to make it 27-7.
After the score, Jo Byrns attempted an on sides kick but it was sniffed out by Hayden Carter. Tyler Smith then got a huge upfield block by Landon Jolley to make it into the red zone. Smith and Kyler Parker then got consecutive gains before Smith got his third score of the night. Bradford’s PAT was good to make the final score 34-7.
In the fourth quarter, Raider Head Coach Dobbs began substituting heavily to give younger players some reps. The Raiders will need the depth for the last half of the season.
The Raiders improved their season record to 3-4 while the Red Devils dropped to 1-7. •