In front of a packed homecoming crowd on Friday night, Rio football looked to upset Christian Brothers and bounce back after losing three of their first four games,
“Going into the game, we knew if we did our jobs, we would com out with the win,” said junior quarterback Mitchell Dixon. “Our coaches prepared us well all week, so we just needed to execute on Friday.”
Jumping off to a hot start in the first quarter, junior wide receiver Savion Ponce scored a touchdown on a pass from Dixon. He would go on to contribute massively for the Raiders, with two 30-plus-yard punt returns in the first half (one was called back for an illegal block in the back).
As the first quarter wound down, Rio continued to move the ball effectively, but could not put points on the board. Wide receiver Bryce Casey caught a few big passes including back-to-back receptions in the second giving Rio a 13-0 lead.
The Raiders held the Christian Brother’s offensive in check beautifully through the first half, pressuring quarterback Jacob Steward to make tough throws. However, the Falcons began to show signs of life late in the first half with a well-worked drive ending in a missed field goal.
With 7:17 left in the third quarter, CB pulled off one of the most miraculous plays you will ever see. Steward fielded a low snap off a hop, evaded two would-be tacklers and found his receiver on a drag rout over the middle. He broke upfield, breaking three more tackles in the process of a long Falcon touchdown.
It all went downhill for Rio from there as Christian Brothers’ offense began to overpower the worn down Raider defense. On the first play of the fourth quarter, CB got the spark they needed with a well-timed interception.
CB marched down the field and scored thanks to a Jacob Steward touchdown pass to his receiver running a slant route.
On the next Falcons drive, they ran the play made famous in last year’s Super Bowl ‘the Philly Special’. The play was slightly different, but finished with the same result, ending in a long CB touchdown from wide receiver Luke Jones. The game was sealed just minutes later with a 31-yard touchdown run by senior Chance Gallop.
For the second week in a row, the Raiders wasted an outstanding first half performance against a higher ranked opponent. Last week, they kept local powerhouse Jesuit within striking distance, trailing 7-14 at half, before losing 14-49.
Against CB, the Raiders let a 13-0 halftime lead slip away by surrendering 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter en route to a 19-27 loss.
“We simply didn’t execute and had a hard time moving the ball in the fourth quarter.” Dixon said. The Raiders got off to a hot start, but could not finish in the second half.
Next week, Rio looks to turn it around against Vista del Lago at home.