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Bronco busting: Raiders ride defense, running game to 21-7 victory over Mustangs

Posted 9/17/13


The first three weeks of action in the 2013 scholastic football season has brought a renewed excitement for faithful Middletown fans. For the second week in a row, the underdog Blue Raiders pulled off another surprise that has caught the …

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Bronco busting: Raiders ride defense, running game to 21-7 victory over Mustangs


mdtfootball1Photo by Jodi Ocker West Perry quarterback Chris Lehman (12) is sacked by Middletown’s Steven Cain (9) and Nick Drawbaugh (71) during the Blue Raiders’ 21-7 victory over the Mustangs.Using another gritty and determined effort on the War Memorial Field turf, the Raiders upended visiting West Perry by a crowd-pleasing 21-7 score on a cool Friday, Sept. 13.  

Middletown (2-1) displayed a solid defense that limited the Mustangs (0-3) to just 3 net yards on the ground, intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble to frustrate the West Perry offensive game plan. The Mustangs did manage to collect 175 yards in the air, but found the end zone just once – a touchdown with less than 30 seconds left in the first half.  

For the Raiders, some changes on the front line paid big dividends in the victory.

By moving tackle Colton Smith to tight end and re-inserting freshman Tommy Staker at tackle, Coach Brett Myers’ offense turned in an outstanding performance.

“We dominated up front,” observed assistant coach Bronson Ganse.

The Raider running game punched out nearly 320 yards behind crisp blocking by the offensive line, including Caleb Leggore, Mitch Ward, Nick Drawbaugh and Brent Newton, and a combination of power and speed by the running backs.

Executing the read option to near perfection, sophomore quarterback Osman Kamara led the way with 83 yards on 9 carries while senior halfback Chris Holloman added 80 yards on a grueling 18 rushes. Josh Matinchek, Kurt Dey, Levi Varner and Jaelen Thompson teamed up for 153 more.  

The Middletown defense set the tone early when Varner recovered a West Perry fumble on the second play of the game. But after converting a fourth-and-4f for a first down at the West Perry 17, the Raiders were victimized by a turnover of their own when Kamara’s pass was intercepted and returned to the Middletown 29-yard line.

Four plays later, however, linebacker Caleb Leggore intercepted a tipped pass to kill the threat at the 16.

A promising Middletown drive following Leggore’s pick reached the West Perry 24-yard line before three straight Raider penalties stalled the march.  

After stopping the Mustangs inside their 40-yard line on the opening drive of the second quarter, the Raiders were back on offense. Keyed by a pair of runs covering 21 and 23 yards by Dey and a personal foul penalty against the Mustangs, the Raiders punched in the game’s first score on a 1-yard keeper by Kamara with 5:12 left in the first half. Josh Alcock’s PAT gave Middletown a 7-0 lead.

MDTfootball2Photo by Jodi Ocker Middletown quarterback Osman Kamara (2) runs for a 21-yard touchdown on an option to stake the Blue Raiders to a 14-0 lead.Two plays later, Mel Fager intercepted a pass by Mustang quarterback Chris Lehman, and the Middletown offense was back on the field at the West Perry 44.

Runs by Kamara and Holloman moved the ball to the 21. Kamara covered the distance on the fifth play of the drive, going left on the option and cutting back through the middle for the score with 2:19 left in the half. The kick was good and the Raiders led, 14-0.  

With time winding down in the half, Lehman hooked up with Jacob Owens for a 42-yard pass to the Middletown 8-yard line. With less than half a minute left, Lehman connected with Gage Harless from 11 yards out to make it a 14-7 game at the halftime break.

Shaking off that late West Perry score, the Raiders came out charging to start the second half.

Starting at its own 24 following the kickoff, the Middletown offense stayed with its ground game. With Dey, Holloman, Thompson and Kamara sharing the load, the Raiders reached the West Perry 33 in six plays.

From there, Thompson, who is just a freshman, showed a terrific combination of speed and quick moves as he went left on a sweep, juked a couple defenders in the middle of the field and streaked into the end zone for the Raiders’ third touchdown with 8:39 left in the third quarter.  

On defense, Brent Newton, Steven Cain, Leggore, Dey, Seth Babil and Nick Drawbaugh led the way as the Raiders turned away another Mustang drive that was kept alive by a 14-yard run on a fake punt by Chase May.

The Mustangs had one more chance to reach the end zone on a drive that started at their own 44 at the end of the third quarter. A pair of passes from May to Owens, plus a personal foul call against the Raiders, kept the march alive. But the Middletown defense stepped up once again to keep the Mustangs from reaching their goal. With a good pass rush up front and excellent coverage downfield by Varner, Dey, Matinchek, Fager and Justin Shaver, along with a sack by defender Will Botterbusch, the Raiders stopped the Mustangs in their tracks at the Middletown 15-yard line.

With 8:18 left in the game, the Middletown offense needed to control the ball and run off as much time as it could. It did, picking up a pair of first downs and using up four minutes in the process.  

The real clincher came when West Perry’s May muffed Fager’s punt and the Mustangs had to start at their own 13 with 4:13 left. Newton sacked Lehman for a 7-yard loss on first down, Ward stopped Cameron Demby for a short gain on second down, Drawbaugh held Lehman for no gain on third and then sacked Lehman for a 5-yard loss on fourth-and-13 to lock down the win.  {jcomments on}



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