|Cal-Mum Football 2010|
Raiders earn a tough 16 to 6 road win over Avon
The Raiders played their fist road contest of the season with a 16 to 8 victory against their rivals to the East, the Avon Braves. The Cal-Mum rushing attack during Friday night’s game in a phrase could be described as, “Spreading the wealth.” Four Raider rushers accounted for at least 50-yard of rushing, apiece. Tyler Lauffer led the Raider rushing parade with 78 yards, followed by Jon Cappotelli with 64 yards, Trevor Haut with 56 yards and Madison Suhr with 52 yards. It was definitely a running by committee night against the Braves. The Raider offensive line of Jason Phillips (subbing for the injured Jake Oltmann), Adam Baldeck, Mike Johnson, Matt Riggi and Kyle Sickles controlled the trenches. Late in the game when the Raiders were looking to drive the ball and work the clock, that is when the Raider o-line was at their best.
The Raider defense simply played, lights out! Holding the potent Braves’ offense to only 46 yards rushing in 26 carries, while pressuring Braves’ quarterback James Stanton on virtually every play. Stanton’s final 9 for 23-completion line accounted for just 86 passing yards.
The Raiders, for all the good things that happened in the game, were plagued by some of their own demons. Three costly fumbles were lost and two of the four illegal procedure penalties contributed to stopping promising drives.
The game started inauspiciously for Cal-Mum when Raider Colin Callan’s nice opening kick-off return was fumbled and recovered by the Braves at the CM 46-yard line. Brandon Fuentes 26-yard run on the Braves opening play quickly moved the ball to the CM 20-yard line. The Raider defense would then put the clamps on the Braves offense and when a 4th down and 13-yard pass attempt by the Braves fell incomplete, the Raiders took over.
Later in the 1st quarter the Raiders would start an 11-play, 67-yard scoring drive. With all the running backs sharing carries in the series, Jon Cappotelli eventually took the ball into the end zone off a 9-yard run. Matt Hartford’s 2-point conversion run staked the Raiders to an early 8 to 0 lead.
The Raiders again got excellent field position late in the 2nd quarter at the 50-yard line. The good field position was the result of a strong defensive stand that forced the Braves to punt from their own 10-yard line. Madison Suhr came in to quarterback the Raider offense. Suhr, subbing for the injured Matt Hartford made an immediate impact while running from the wildcat formation. Suhr’s first rushing attempt resulted in a 31-yard gain. He followed that effort up two plays later with a 15-yard burst to the Avon 1-yard line. The next play, Trevor Haut would dive over the Braves defensive line, into the end zone for a 2nd Cal-Mum score. Madison Suhr’s 2-point conversion run would close out the 1st half scoring with the Raiders on top of the Braves 16 to 0.
The Raiders dominated the 3rd quarter of play, possessing the ball for 9:19 minutes of the 12:00 minute quarter. The Raiders appeared to be ready to finish off the Braves as an 11-play drive, would move deep into Avon territory. The penalty bug would then prove costly when a 3rd down and 1-yard to go play turned into a 3rd down and 6-yards to go. The 3rd down running play came up short and the promising Raider drive ended and Cal-Mum was forced to punt the ball back to Avon. Colin Callan’s nice punt did however pin the Braves back on their own 8-yard line.
With 11:51 left on the clock, the Raiders had stopped the Braves offense once again and had great field position at the Braves’ 40-yard line. The Braves were again on the ropes and the Raiders appeared to be ready to deliver the knockout punch. The Raiders however were not able to get the chance to deliver the big punch as Cal-Mum fumbled the ball on the first play of the drive, giving the Braves new life when it appeared the game was slipping away for them.
This time the Braves made the maroon and white pay dearly for their mistake. Moving to the Raiders’ 47-yard line and facing a 4th down and 6-yards to go, Avon quarterback James Stanton completed a short toss to Zach Pumputis, who would break defensive containment for a 14-yard gain, giving the Braves’ a big 1st down. James Stanton would take the next snap and he was then chased all over the Braves’ backfield by the Raider defensive pass rush. The time created by Stanton’s scrambling allowed Avon’s Rich Welch to get deep on the Raider defense and Stanton would find Welch with a 33-yard scoring pass. Stanton scrambling act was not yet over when on the 2-conversion attempt he broke at least two tackles and managed to finally get into the Raider end zone, cutting the Raider lead to 16 – 8.
The Raiders who moments earlier had looked to be in total control of the game were forced to respond to the Avon score. Following a touch back on the Avon kickoff, the Raider offense sputtered and had to punt the ball back to Avon.
With 6:26 left on the clock, the Braves had the ball at the Avon 42-yard line. A quick 1st down by Avon moved the ball to the CM 42-yard line. It was gut check time for the Raiders. From this point on, it was all Cal-Mum. The Raiders forced three consecutive incomplete passes after which the Braves punted the ball back to Cal-Mum.
The final 5:17 of the game was vintage Cal-Mum football. Starting from the CM 5-yard line, Cal-Mum plowed the ball up the field behind the good offensive line blocking and the hard running from the Raider backfield. The crucial 11-play drive would finally concluded with the cursory kneel down, ending the game.
The Raiders will need to clean up their mistakes in games to come. This game could have been over early if not for the Cal-Mum mistakes. I’ll say this, “The Braves did make this an interesting game.” It is a safe bet that the Raiders and the Braves will more than likely see each other once again, come Sectional time.
Jon Kemnitz led the Raiders on defense with 11 tackles. Kyle Sickle and Matt Riggi also contributed 8 tackles for the Raiders. Matt Riggi was a difference maker in the middle for the Raider defense. George Spezzano played huge for the Braves as the short-man, big-guy plugged the middle for the Braves. Spezzano tallied 14-tackles on the night. Dan Welch was right there with Spezzano with 11-tackles while his brother Rich had 10-tackles.
The Avon rushing attack had a difficult time all night against the rugged Raider defense. Rich Welch had 24 tough yards in 12 carries while the versatile James Stanton who was badgered from a Raider pass rush all night, had a -4 yards in 13 carries. Brandon Fuentes surprisingly was the leading Braves ground gainer with 26-yards, that all coming on the opening offensive play of the game.
The Raiders appear to have their swagger back and that is bad news for the rest of the teams coming up on the Cal-Mum schedule. This Friday, the Warsaw Tigers visit the Hamilton Field and Sports Complex for a 7:30 contest. The Tiger are coming off a 46 to 0 spanking by the Letchworth Indians they should not be happy having to come into the Raiders’, “Happy Valley, “ Hamilton Field. Friday night is also, “Homecoming.” The Raiders will be honoring this year’s senior players and cheerleaders. Come and show your support for Cal-Mum football as they set their sights on a Section V Championship run.