Last Friday the Raiders held off a fourth quarter comeback by the Liberty Lancers to rack up their third win in a row. This is the longest winning streak by an LR team since 2004. LR has also won as many games this season as they did in 2011 and 2012 combined. Head Coach Steve Files was impressed with his squad winning two close games in two weeks back to back, “It was a very gutty performance by the Raiders.” Coach Files continued to praise his team saying, “We came out strong, but Liberty fought back hard against us until the very end.”
The game started out great for the Raiders as they forced a fumble on the Lancers first drive. LR turned that turnover into seven points with a Jesse Louie touchdown. Then the Raider defense forced the Lancers to punt which LR’s offense capitalized on to extend the lead to 14-0 with a Josh Harris touchdown run.
Liberty struck back with a touchdown to open the second quarter, but did not convert the two points on the play after the touchdown. LR and Liberty both committed many penalties that hindered offensive play. The Raiders went into halftime with a 14-6 lead.
Liberty came back into the game in the third quarter when they ran an interception back for a touchdown. Again the Lancers could not convert the two point play and the Raiders still led by the score of 14-12. LR would recover from the setback and drive down the field with Chance Garvin scoring on the quarterback sneak to extend the lead to 21-12.
In the fourth quarter the Lancers began to successfully move the ball through the air. LR had great success in shutting down the run, but against the pass the Lancers had the upper hand. Liberty scored to cut the lead to three. The Lancers again could not convert the two point play, the score stood at 21-18 LR. On the ensuing kickoff, Kyle Holt broke loose and ran the ball back for a touchdown. The extra point missed its mark but the Raider lead was back to nine points with the score 27-18 LR.
Liberty was not finished as they again attacked the Raiders through the air. Michael Thomas grabbed an interception but the Raiders could not add to their lead. The Lancers took the ball and drove down field to score another touchdown to again get within three points of the Raiders. Liberty for the fourth time did not convert the two point play and the Raiders still led by the score of 27-24.
The Raider offense could not put up the go ahead score so the Lancers again got the ball back. It looked like the Raider defense had the Lancers penned up and finished when they suddenly completed a pass and got the first down at midfield only 20 seconds left in the game. Then the Raiders were called for roughing the quarterback, giving the Lancers another chance to score. At 10-seconds left the Lancer quarterback launched the ball for the end zone for an incomplete pass. With one play left and only three seconds left on the clock, the Lancers lined up. The quarterback dropped back looking into the end zone, launched the ball to the left for the open wide receiver where Chance Garvin from his free safety spot jumped on the route and grabbed the interception to seal the win for the Raiders. The final score was LR 27-Liberty 24.
Chance Garvin matched his performance at Bridgeport by grabbing three interceptions against the Lancers. Jesse Louie had three tackles for a Lancer loss and a sack. Jacob Palmer also recorded a sack. Trey Nicholson forced the fumble in the first quarter, he also recovered it. The Raider offense racked up 196 yards total, all coming on the ground. Garvin was the starting quarterback place of the injured Austin Rosenbaum.
When asked what needs to improve on offense this week Coach Files said, “We weren’t able to break any long runs against Liberty; we just need to stay aggressive and block till the whistle.” Coach Files is confident in the Raiders ablity to move the ball through the air saying, “We’re capable of big plays in the passing game as well.” On the defense Coach Files likes how the Raiders are on top of the turnovers again, “We continue to force turnovers on defense and that has been a huge factor in all our wins.”
This week the Raiders take on their first Central Washington 2B opponent in the Kittitas Coyotes. When asked how his squad stacks up to the Coyotes Coach Files said, “Kittitas really manhandled us last year, we’ll have our hands full again this year I’m sure.” The Coyotes come into the game 1-2. They opened the season with a loss to the Reardan Indians 31-6. Then on September 20, Kittitas lost to the defending 2B State Champions Lind-Ritzville/Sprague by the score of 43-6. Last week in their CW 2B opener the Coyotes beat the Oroville Hornets 20-13. The game is at Greene Field in Coulee Dam with kickoff at 7 p.m.