Raiders rout Rebels 42-9 at Homecoming
The Southern Oregon seniors shined in their final game as a Raider Saturday afternoon, as they pounded the Dixie State Rebels 42-9 in Raider Stadium.
“I’m so proud of our seniors, they played well today and lead us all year long,” said Coach Steve Helminiak. These seniors helped their team do something that hasn’t been done in four years, have a winning season.
The Raiders scored first with sophomore quarterback Bryan Lee-Lauduski hooking up with Marlon Rosales on a swing route out of the backfield for one of his three touchdown passes.
The Rebels would answer quickly though, when two minutes later quarterback Nate Lewis found his backup Skyler Ence in single coverage over the left side and sailed a 39-yard pass over his shoulder for the touchdown. The Rebels missed their extra point and were down 7-6.
On the ensuing kickoff Dixie State recovered their onside kick, giving Lewis and the Rebels a short field and a chance to score. Lewis floated a deep pass down the left sideline but senior free safety Brandon Beatty came up big as he picked off the pass on the eight-yard line.
“I just read the quarterback the whole game,” said Beatty who ended his senior season with two interceptions.
The Raiders coughed up the ball though after the interception, and Rebel Jody Morgan recovered the ball again giving Dixie State a short field. Penalties hurt the Raiders and put the Rebels in scoring range but would have to settle for a 39-yard field goal to put the Rebels up 9-7.
It would be all Southern Oregon after that as Lauduski marched his team downfield connecting with a wide open Darryl Price to get them in the red zone. Marlon Rosales capped off the drive with his second touchdown of the game, running in from three yards out giving the Raiders a 14-9 lead.
In the second half the Raider defense came up big as they took advantage of Dixie State’s Nate Lewis and his inexperience at quarterback. The defense disguised their coverage’s causing Lewis the throw into double coverage and pressure from senior linebacker James Williams and senior defensive lineman Ricky Parker helped stop the running game of Dixie State.
“Blitz packages is what we do, high pressure defense changes the comfort level of the quarterback,” said Coach Helminiak.
The Raiders offense, not to be outdone by the defense, took a commanding lead as Lauduski found Tim Greenidge underneath the linebackers on a crossing route to the right for an 18-yard touchdown putting them up 21-9.
The defense would answer the call again to stop the Rebel’s offense as Lewis was picked off for the second time of the game, this time by senior linebacker Austin Stack who got in front of his man and yanked the pass away.
The interception lead to a Raider touchdown as Lauduski hooked up with Kevin Holtzman on a 7-yard touchdown pass for his third touchdown pass of the game and a comfortable 28-9 lead. Holtzman lead the Raiders in receiving yards this year and reeled in a team high eight touchdowns on the year.
Defensive pressure continued into the fourth quarter, as Lewis was flushed out of the pocket and pressure caused a bad pass right into the arms of Raider linebacker Damario Watson, for Lewis’s third interception of the game.
The Raiders kept up their intensity on offense as Shane Van Zant rumbled up the middle of the Rebel’s defense for a 5-yard touchdown putting them up 35-9.
Cornerback Danson Cappo made a great read on the quarterback jumping in front of a screen pass intended for a Dixie State receiver, and took it to the house for a 25-yard interception for a touchdown for a final score of 42-9.
“It’s a great way to end a season, and a career for you seniors,” said Coach Helminiak who was honored with a Gatorade bath after the game.
The Raiders honored twelve seniors before the game, and their hard work and dedication has set an example for the young players on the Raiders team. Coach Helminiak looks to carry this win into next year for his third season as head coach, and looks for their success to continue.
“The seniors helped turn this program around,” Coach Helminiak explained, “I couldn’t be more proud of them.”