For The Independent
Russell’s ground attack is known for churning out yards and chewing up the clock.
East Carter decided the best way to stop the Red Devils vaulted Wing-T offense was to try to never let it get started.
With aggressive playcalling on special teams and some offensive success of their own, the Raiders were able to limit Russell’s offensive opportunites much of the night.
Only problem for East Carter, the Red Devils made sure to make the most of those opportunities.
Russell scored touchdowns on two of its three first-half possessions and produced points on four of six drives in the second half on the way to defeating the Raiders 42-18 Friday night at Henry R. Evans Stadium.
“We didn’t get to run many plays tonight,” Russell coach Ivan McGlone said. “I think we only ran three or four plays in the first quarter, and we didn’t run many more in the second or third quarter.”
After benefiting from great field position thanks to a botched punt attempt, Russell needed just four plays to score on its opening drive. Nick Conley went in from six yards out to give the Red Devils the early 7-0 lead. Conley’s TD with 6:25 remaining was Russell’s last play of the quarter.
After a methodical drive by East Carter led to an Evan Huddle 27-yard field goal, the Raiders opted to go for an onside kick, which they recovered. The onside kick was one of the ways that East Carter tried to utilize to keep the ball away from Russell. The Raiders attempted three on the night, recovering two.
“We were not going into this thing just to play close, we are going to play for the win,” East Carter coach Zach Moore said. “Obviously it is big to try and limit possessions when you play Russell because they like to use a lot of clock on offense, and we did a pretty good job of that in the first half.”
“They killed us on a couple of onside kicks, and I cant believe that,” McGlone said. “That really hurt us.”
While Russell (6-3) was able to convert on its relaticvely few chances on offense, the Raiders (2-7) were unable to take advantage of the extra possessions, with neither successful onside kick producing points.
“That has been our story offensively all year, inconsistency. We can move the ball up and down the field, then we will have a negative play or a penalty,” Moore said. “We get in crucial situations and just don’t get the job done.”
Despite the missed opportunities, East Carter found itself down just four midway through the third quarter thanks to Jordan Ratcliff’s 32 yard run, which made the score 14-10.
Ratcliff would lead all rushers with 155 yards on 16 carries. He added a 64-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Following a defensive stop, the Raiders had the ball with a chance to take the lead, but a failed fake punt on 4th-and-10 near midfield ended the threat.
It didn’t take long for the Red Devils to capitalize on the good field position, scoring two plays later on Bronson Korzep’s 39-yard scamper.
Korzep’s first of two touchdowns would be the first of three in less that five minutes, providing the Red Devils with some breathing room. Korzep added the second score going in from one yard out. He finished with 81 yards on 11 carries.
Ethan Thompson scored the third touchdown on an 80-yard interception return.
“They had a chance there to go ahead, but they made a couple of mistakes and we were able to take it in,” McGlone said.
Jacob McKee led the Red Devils with 99 yards on 10 carries.