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Raiders football prevail against Friday Harbor in first round of state

 

Sam Wapato makes the catch before running the ball in for a touchdown. - Scott Hunter photos

Lake Roosevelt's Raiders won the day in their first round of the state football playoffs Saturday in Coulee Dam, besting Friday Harbor 19-14, but losing a key player in the process.

Of any of the state's 53 2B-classified teams, the two with the least points scored against them this season slugged it out in a game that wore out the grass in the middle of Greene Field and seemed to give up nearly as much yardage to yellow flags as plays.

The most severe of those penalties saw Raider Cameron St. Pierre ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct in the second quarter. That will keep the team's go-to running back from playing the next game, too, when the Raiders will travel to the southwest part of the state to face Kalama.

But with two powerhouse defenses shutting down running games, Saturday the Raiders' quarterback, Hunter Whitelaw, relied on the team's passing-game strategies to move downfield much more than what has been the LR norm this season.

It worked.

A long bomb to Sam Wapato in the first quarter resulted in a 65-yard effort for a touchdown and the first points on the board.

Two plays later, the Raiders recovered a Wolverine fumble at Friday Harbor's 38-yard line, leading to Whitelaw connecting with Tyson Nicholson in the corner of the endzone for a 13-0 lead.

Trevon Johnson (55) and Tyson Nicholson (10) keep the pressure on Wolverine quarterback Dylan Roberson.

The Wolverine offense answered with a touchdown, followed late in the second quarter with an interception. A Wolverine blocking for their runner knocked St. Pierre backward and out of bounds as St. Pierre grabbed the blocker's helmet, pulling it off. A referee called that unsportsmanlike and ejected the senior from the game.

The Raider bench proved resilient in the second half, with several running backs gaining yardage in the game, including Devon Hobrecht-Marconi and Brit Egbert.

The third quarter went by with no score added by either team.

LR put their advantage at 19-6 early in the fourth when Wapato caught Whitelaw's long pass and stepped into the endzone.

Friday Harbor added a touchdown plus a two-point conversion to put the score at 19-14, the last score made with 6:37 left on the clock.

The Raiders, with a 9-1 win-loss record for the season, will travel to the southwest corner of the state to face the Kalama Chinooks (8-2) for a quarterfinal game on the home field of the two-time state 2B champs on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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