Red Raiders Victorious in 'Mud Bowl'…South Point Shuts Out Hunter Huss 20-0
October 4, 2015
There is a cliché implying that football played in bad weather is "real football - the way the game is meant to be played." And to the point there is an element of truth in the statement. After all, miserable conditions that include slippery field conditions, wet equipment, and at times visibility, tend to balance a playing field. Such conditions may narrow the gap between two teams in which one is heavily favored in a contest. It is important to recognize the toughness, dedication, and determination of the players on the field to line up and play hard against both a capable opponent and inclement weather. But it is equally important to recognize the fans that exhibit a dedication and commitment to their teams by braving the conditions and providing their undaunted support! To the fans of the visiting Red Raiders, the team expresses gratitude for your support and acknowledges your part in the victory. In similar fashion, the fans of the Huskies are to be commended for their dedication to back their team on a less than ideal night to be a spectator in the stands. With the short turnaround week, made necessary by weather conditions that moved last week's game to Monday, South Point had little time to prepare for an athletic Hunter Huss team that would be eager to steal a win from the conference's powerhouse. No doubt the rainy conditions throughout the week hampered practices and perhaps the execution of the team, but at game time the heart and mindset of the Red Raiders came through! South Point sufficiently outfought the Huskies and claimed the 20-0 conference win in a game that showcased the good, the bad, and the unusual of high school football.
South Point began the game on offense and came out with their usual ground-pounding running attack that has rarely been stopped by opponents this season. But footing was tenuous and it became quickly obvious that both teams would face a common opponent in the ground conditions. The Raiders would start the initial drive from their 25 yardline and following a 15 yard run by quarterback Diontrea King and a 7 yard burst by fullback Ryland Etherton, it appeared that the South Point offense would have no trouble with the Huss defense or the weather. But after crossing midfield, things began to "bog" down and the Raiders came up a yard short on a fourth and three to give the ball to the Huskies. The ten play drive was encouraging in that the Raiders had picked up positive yardage on every down, unfortunately not enough on the final snap. Huss took over at their 29 yardline. The Red 'D' applied immediate pressure with safety Max Mead and defensive end Tobey Stapel charging into the backfield and forcing a quarterback scramble. His desperation throw fell short, and the messages sent were that Huss would not abandon a passing attack, and the Raiders defense intended to bring pressure. On second down, Stapel once again stood face-to-face with the Huskies quarterback in the backfield. The result was a 5 yard loss for the Huskies. After a third down pass incompletion, Huss was forced to punt. And the Raiders 'D' would grab the game's first scoring opportunity. Linebacker Tyler Hall broke across the line in a bull rush and engaged the protection, forcing the blocker back into his punter. The ball was deflected and downed at the Huskies twenty-two. Unfortunately both teams had experienced difficulties running on this same side of the fifty and once again the Raiders could advance no further than the Huss 14 yardline before once again turning the ball over on downs. Fortunately the South Point defense continued to be equal to the task and so Huss was forced to punt once again. The two possessions by each team took the first quarter clock inside of one minute and the stanza would end with the teams knotted at 0-0.
The second quarter began with the Raiders at their 45 yardline; South Point overcame consecutive false start penalties to move the ball into Huss territory. With the ball at the Huskies 37, King called his own number and cut to the outside before weaving back to the middle, setting up his blockers perfectly, en route to the game's first score. Kicker Thomas Lempereur's PAT was true and the Raiders had gained the important 7-0 lead in a contest that figured to be a low scoring affair. With the lead, the South Point defense continued to bring the pressure, forcing the Huskies to turn the ball over on downs twice on two possessions in the second quarter. The teams went to the locker room after the first half of play with the Raiders holding the seven point advantage.
With the constant drizzle of rain, the fifteen minute intermission only served to further deteriorate already poor field conditions. The Huskies and Raiders would both punt on their first possessions of the second half. But then, with less than six minutes to go in the third quarter, the game's first turnover occurred. A fumbled snap was recovered by defensive end Mathew Robinson and the Raiders were eager to take advantage. It was remarkable that the teams had protected the ball so well for so long in a contest prone for turnovers. The recovery gave the Red 'O' the ball at the Huss 30 yardline. A quick handoff to Etherton and in one play, South Point extended the lead. Etherton burst through a hole created by linemen Matt Mellette and Larry Dowdy and raced untouched to the endzone. The Raiders pushed the lead to 14-0 and, given the play of the defense, the two score advantage seemed insurmountable. But South Point took nothing for granted. The remaining 3:26 of the third quarter saw both teams exchange possessions via punts and the Raiders carried the lead into the fourth.
As had been the case throughout, the rain continued to fall in the final stanza. Both teams thus continued to battle the worsening conditions. Uniforms covered in mud and extra weight added by the soaked conditions surely made the going tough for both squads. But the Red Raiders and the Huskies continued to do battle in the trenches. The teams traded punts on the first two possessions of the fourth. Then with 2:50 on the clock, Huss had the ball deep in their territory at the 11 yardline. South Point continued to play hard in spite of the dwindling time on the game clock. The Red 'D' forced a punt with the Huss punter having to line up in the Huskies endzone. The result was an unusual play that may have been worth waiting through the rain to witness! The snap was bobbled and the ball bounced forward to the goalline. Trying to avoid the rush of the Red 'D', the kicker attempted to kick the ball while it was still on the ground. The ball ricocheted off lineman Isaiah Carter back in to the endzone where it was covered by Matthew Robinson for the touchdown! The play drew a flag on the punter for illegal kicking, which was declined and the South Point touchdown stood. The points accounted for the final 20-0 tally and another Red Raider victory! South Point moves to 4-2 overall, 2-0 in the conference and have proven capable of playing hardnosed football, the way the game is meant to be played.
Rainy weather and poor field conditions are considered to be just a part of the game in football. In fact, such conditions often prove to be an equalizer that balances the talent of the teams on the field. But the weather does nothing to affect the heart and resolve of champions, and South Point has routinely displayed that they possess such characteristics both on the field and in the stands! The victory at Hunter Huss belongs to the team and to the RaiderNation!
Go Get 'Em, Red!
Notable Facts and Thoughts
South Point hosts Ashbrook in a homecoming matchup this Friday night at Lineberger Stadium. The Greenwave will need no more motivation following a loss to North Gaston last week. The Red Raiders will be ready take care of business. The drive to the conference championship will not be stalled by weather…or a Greenwave!
JV Report by Calvin Craig
October 1, 2015
Still looking for a win, Hunter Huss 14, South Point 7
The JV Red Raiders took their opening drive down the field for a quick touchdown, but no more points were to come.
The JV Huskies score two touchdowns and the South Point JV's are still looking for their first win of the season.
The Red Raiders will look to get on track this Thursday night at Ashbrook