Raiders shutout Flour Bluff, move on to semifinals

Raiders shutout Flour Bluff, move on to semifinals

Rachel Sloan, co-Editor in Chief

Who are we? Champions.

Head coach Joshua Mann asked this question to his team just moments after the Raiders’ shutout win over Flour Bluff in the quarterfinals. With the 34-0 win, the Raiders ended the Hornets’  13-game winning streak and move on to play in the 4A, Division 1 semifinals.

“It was a heck of a game,” senior linebacker Tim Lapaglia said. “We really pulled it out and shut them out.”

While the defense was keeping  the Hornets out of the red zone, the offense was lighting up the scoreboard, with three touchdowns in the first half. The Raiders got on the board in the first quarter with an 18-yard touchdown by senior Logan Kinder.

“The defense played great and the crowd was really loud,” Kinder said. “We had a great turn out and we really got some work done tonight.”

In the first half, the defense held the Hornets to 82 yards and had four fourth down stops.

“We’ve just been doing the same thing we have all year and making sure we did every little thing right,” senior defensive end Josh Petro said. “Coming out and working our hardest, and making sure we can extend our season that next 48 minutes.”

The Raiders would add two more touchdowns in the first half, a 1-yard keeper by senior Justin Pelt and a 54-yard touchdown from Pelt to sophomore Demetrius Hood. Pelt would complete six of eight passes for 173 yards and four touchdowns.

“My performance came through because the offensive line did their job and had a great game and the coaches plans all worked,” Pelt said.  “I can only shine if all that happens so I give all the credit to them and to god.”

The defense placed pressure on Flour Bluff’s quarterback Kolton Mimms to force several turnovers, including senior Tim Lapaglia intercepting a fourth down pass in the end zone during the second quarter to keep the Hornets scoreless. The defense would come up with four interceptions in the shutout victory.

“We’ve been forcing turnovers all year, it’s one of our staples as a defense,” Petro said. “They did a great job in the secondary, getting in front of passes and it really helped turn around the game.”

The Raiders would add two more touchdowns in the second half to put the game away. Pelt threw to senior Wesley Lewis for a 52-yard touchdown pass, and Kinder would add a second touchdown in the third quarter.

“We came out hard,” Vise said. “We played confident but not too confident and we knew we could do it.”

This win brings the Raiders to 10-4 while Flour Bluff ends their season 13-1. In their four playoff games, the Raiders have outscored opponents 172-48.

“What we did tonight was just an amazing accomplishment,” Mann said. “It couldn’t be possible without kids. They bought in 100 percent. They believe in what they’re doing and they’re playing at such a high level.”

The Raiders will face  the Georgetown Eagles next week in the semifinals, at Gupton Stadium, Saturday at 1 p.m., for a chance to play for the state championship.

“It means everything to know that we’re moving on and keeping our playoffs dreams alive,” Pelt said. “And I’m able to play with these guys another 48 minutes, I couldn’t ask for more.”