Raiders Knockout Northwest Mustangs in District Semifinals
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By Mary Schwanke
Three weeks after the end of the regular season, Friday, November 12, the North Shelby Raiders finally played their first postseason game against the Northwest Hughesville Mustangs. The Raiders went on to defeat Northwest with a final score of 66-14. They had seen the Mustangs before, in the second week of the season.
Head Coach David Stuckey explained the tactics used by the Raiders during this game.
“We wanted to confuse them with a couple different things. We tried to bait them into some shorter throws, which we did, and kept them contained in front of us. We knew they’d take a couple of shots over the top. I told the guys to be prepared because last time, they got a couple of them. This time, they didn’t, so I was really proud of the guys keeping the deep passes from happening.”
Just over a minute into the first quarter, Cale Stoneburner rushed for a 63-yard touchdown. He also secured the conversion. Typical Raider defense ensued, forcing the Mustangs to punt.
Justin Lunsford carried the ball for the Raiders, achieving several 1st downs. Kyle Smith received a pass, gaining 33 yards. On 3rd and goal, Lunsford scored, making the score 14-0 with 4 minutes left in the quarter.
After several incomplete passes and a sack in the backfield by Luke Schwanke, the Mustangs punted to the 29-yard line.
Two minutes into the second quarter, Lunsford snuck 8 yards into the end zone, giving the Raiders six more points. On Northwest’s 1st down, Carson Orr immediately intercepted a Mustang pass and rushed 26 yards, setting the line of scrimmage at the 13-yard line. Stoneburner kept the ball for five more yards before being tackled. A facemask call gave the Raiders an additional five yards. With three yards to go, Stoneburner forced his way through a wall of Mustangs for a touchdown. At 8:21 in the second quarter, the Raiders were leading the Mustangs 28-0.
The Mustangs received the ball on the 25-yard line. A long pass to Pierson Tichenor brought the Mustangs all the way to their own 5. However, Orr intercepted their next pass, giving the Raiders possession at the 12-yard line.
A holding penalty on the Raiders pushed NS back. Lunsford and Stoneburner took turns carrying the ball, but Brendyn McDaniel was set to punt at 4th and 1. He kicked the ball 47 yards and the Mustangs took over from the Raider’s nine-yard line.
The Raiders swatted every Mustang pass attempt. The Mustangs punted 15 yards from the sticks. Due to a targeting penalty by Northwest, the Raiders resumed play only 16 yards from the end zone. Stoneburner found Landon Bender in the end zone and threw him a touchdown pass.
The Mustangs turned over on downs. Less than a minute later, Stoneburner rushed 27 yards for another six points. His two-point pass to Orr was successful, and the scoreboard read 42-0 with 2:04 left in the half. Both Stoneburner and Lunsford have 18 touchdowns a-piece this far in the season.
Northwest had several 1st downs, but Stoneburner managed to snag an interception at the 5 yard line. A false start on the 2nd down moved NS back, but the next play, a pack of Raiders went against a horde of Mustangs, shuffling for a small gain of 5. McDaniel punted the ball.
As the 2nd half got running, Landon Bender intercepted the Mustangs’ pass and went for a pick 6. The score was 50-0. The Mustangs’ kick return was fumbled, and Noah Greenwell recovered the ball. The Raiders took over on offense again. However, they were forced to punt after gaining only four yards.
With 3:25 left in the third quarter, the Mustangs found their way into the end zone and the score became 50-6. Amos Fredrickson responded with a 51-yard touchdown run for North Shelby.
McDaniel intercepted the ball just before the third quarter ended, and took it to the two-yard line be-fore going out of bounds. fourth quarter began, Fredrickson brought the ball one more yard, and Dominic Manning finished the possession off, scoring for the Raiders.
“Being a backup of offense and defensive line means I barely have playing time,” said Manning. “When Amos got to the one yard line, I went to quarterback. During the play, the defensive line got through. Reading the play, I pushed to the outside and got the touchdown. Getting the touchdown didn’t mean a lot at first, but after a while, it’s an experience I’ll never forget. The feeling of having my brothers protect me while I ran in made me feel at home. Playing as a lineman means I usually don’t touch the ball: I protect. But being the one protected made me feel safe with my brothers and made me feel at home on the field.”
With 3:30 left in the game, O’Bryan scored a Mustang touchdown. The final score of the game was 66-14.
St. Paul Lutheran (Concordia) (3 seed) beat Knox County (2 seed) 41-26 during their District Semifinals last week. The Raiders are scheduled to play Lutheran in the District Championship at North Shelby High School on Friday at 6 p.m.