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AFC’s late rally comes up short vs. River Ridge 38-27

Posted: Wednesday, Sep 18th, 2013

Troy Mairs with a 58 yard scoring grab. (Photo submitted)

ASHTON — The AFC varsity football team found themselves in a deep 28-0 halftime hole after four first half fumbles had erased a couple of scoring chances. But the Raiders staged a fierce third quarter rally that ended up coming just a little short as the Raiders fell to the River Ridge Wildcats 38-27 at Mel Baron Field in Franklin Grove.

The Raiders made a couple of key personnel changes to start the third quarter and found a spark behind the forceful running of sophomore Bryan Dewey. AFC promptly marched 70 yards down the field and scored their first TD on a 6-yard plunge by Dewey. After a Wildcat turnover, the Raiders quickly capitalized on their misfortune and scored on another 6-yard run by Dewey to draw the score closer at 28-14.

The luck was still on the Raiders side when yet another turnover by River Ridge led to 14-yard run by sophomore David Zinke to bring the score to 28-21 at the end of the third quarter.

“We were really rolling in the third quarter,” said Coach Brad Winterland. “We got momentum on our side and the crowd and cheerleaders helped us with incredible energy from the sidelines. It was great to watch our team and fans feed off each other and create a great football atmosphere.”

The defense rose to the occasion in the fourth quarter and forced the Wildcats to punt. The Raiders began marching the ball down the field once again but a knee injury to their new spark plug, Bryan Dewey, led to him leaving the field in an ambulance.

The Raiders turned to the passing game and Jacob Hilliker called on Troy Mairs to make a one handed grab in the end zone for a 17 yard score. A failed extra point attempt brought the score to 28-27 with 8:40 left in the game.

The Wildcats answered the score with a scoring drive of their own to stretch the lead to 35-27. AFC tried to answer with a big drive of their own, but a long pass fell into the wrong hands and was intercepted. The interception led to the final score of the night, a field goal by the Wildcats to bring the final score to 38-27.

“I wish we could have finished the job,” said Winterland. “Losing Dewey like that, put a damper on our momentum. But I’m proud of each one of these guys for the effort they put on the field tonight.”

The Raiders offense rolled up 356 yards on the night, but also accounted for a total of 5 turnovers. Zinke led the team in rushing with 73 yards, and Dewey finished with 69, Jake Hageman had 58 yards and Hilliker ran for 47 yards. Thru the air, Hilliker completed 3 passes to Troy Mairs for 107 yards.

Defensively, Kevin Kurz led the way with 15 tackles, Zinke and Hageman had 7, and Bryan Dewy finished with 6.

The loss brings the season record to 0-3 and this week the team travels to Stockton to play.

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