Raider Report by Evan Crowell
The Raiders are victorious! With a win over the rival Pope Greyhounds on Friday, our Raiders move to 2-1 on the season. Heading into the bye week, the Raiders may have some momentum as they head deeper into their 2019 campaign.
The offense overpowered the Greyhounds in the 33-10 win. The running game decimated the Pope defenders with five rushing touchdowns. Senior running back KD Stokes was a huge playmaker for the offense, running his way to three first half touchdowns and finishing the game with 188 yards on 24 carries. Senior Julian Bumper closed out the game in the second half for the Raiders, running for two of his own touchdowns and 156 yards, including a 58 yard run in the 4th quarter. Julian also had a 41 yard pass, his second long pass of the season. The offensive line was an integral part of the success, opening many holes for the running backs and giving quarterback Zak Rozsman time to operate under center. Junior receiver Ryan Polinski had a great game, making many contested catches over the middle. Polinski’s day was highlighted by an amazing catch on the sideline where he somehow managed to stay inbounds to set up a short fourth down that the Raiders ended up converting. Senior Teagen Bierra continued a strong start to his senior season with some key plays in this one, including a crucial catch for a first down on a series where the Raiders were backed up in their own end zone. Senior receiver Justin McConnell continues to be an impactful playmaker for the Raider offense, and is a serious big play threat. McConnell had a key reception late in the game for the Raiders, gashing the Pope defense for a big first down to later set up a short yardage touchdown for Julian Bumper to seal the game.
The defensive side had some dominant performances as well Friday. The line overwhelmed the opposing offensive line and gave Pope no time to establish the running game. Jayden Smith continued a big senior year getting his third sack in just as many games. The secondary also has shown to be a force this season with many standout playmakers. Safety AJ Brown was all over the field, making tackles in the box but also covering receivers deep down the field. Austin Eldred, a junior safety, intercepted the Pope offense late in the 3rd quarter to end a seemingly promising drive for Pope. Austin is a great coverage safety who you can expect to hear more from this season, as he surely will bait other quarterbacks into ill-advised throws. Safety Will Chapman had a huge interception in the end zone for the Raiders, going up and just beating the Pope receiver for the ball to swing the momentum to the Raiders. Will has had a great season so far, racking up 11 tackles in Mercedes Benz and will be a player to keep an eye on this season. Defensive coordinator Tim Ewing has coached up his defense this year, as they have suffocated opposing offenses with sacks and takeaways, allowing an average of only 14 points a game in the young season. Expect more from this dominant defense.
While there’ll be no show to see this Friday, make sure you are there at North Gwinnett High School on Friday, September 20 at 7:30 to support your Raiders.