The Raiders (1-3) were unable to slow down the talented ground game of the St. Thomas Academy Cadets (4-0) in their 13-48 home loss.
The Cadets rushed for 265 yards and relied on a heavy dosage of running backs Savion Hart and Love Adebayo to beat the Raiders on Sept. 23. Collectively, Hart and Adebayo rushed for 225 yards and five touchdowns on 28 carries.
Through the air, the Cadets added 164 yards to complement their run game. The Cadets were particularly effective using their speed to attack the edge of the Raiders’ defense with swing passes and sweeps.
On the other side, the Raiders generated 251 total yards of offense, the lion's share coming from receiver Johnny Bezdicek and running back Payton Burow. The offense was able to get into a rhythm on a handful of drives, but the Raiders struggled to cap them off with points and just could not keep up with the Cadets.
The game script did not make things easy for Raiders quarterback Daniel Millner.
He was asked to throw downfield early and often as the Cadets raced out to a 21-0 lead in the first half. Millner completed 10 of his 29 passing attempts, good for 169 yards and a touchdown, but he threw three interceptions. He also added 70 yards rushing on five attempts.
Bezdicek followed up his strong performance at Simley last week (four receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown) with another big game, recording five catches for 109 yards and a score. As he did versus Simley, Bezdicek put the Raiders on the board in the third quarter with a long touchdown, this time a 65-yard catch and run off a slant, where he put his speed on display.
Bezdicek’s impressive game could have been even better.
Down 14-0 halfway through the second quarter, the Raiders forced the Cadets to punt for the first time in the contest, regaining possession at their own 30-yard line. Two plays later, Millner hit Bezdicek in stride with the throw about 30 yards downfield, but the normally-sure-handed senior wide receiver couldn’t haul it in. Bezdicek had great separation on the play, and had he caught it, he would have had an excellent opportunity to take it the distance and make it a one-score game.
On the ground, Burow was able to find some space against the Cadets, as he nearly eclipsed 100 yards rushing on 21 carries. He would score the Raiders second touchdown of the game at the start of the fourth quarter on a 33-yard burst to make it 13-35.
The Raiders’ defense may not have had their best night versus the Cadets, but they did have a highlight reel play early in the second half that got the sideline pumped.
Cadets quarterback Maximus Sims was trying to get the ball to his tight end over the middle, but the pass was deflected into the air, and corner back Sawyer Tjomsland dove full extension to snatch the ball, somehow maintaining possession of it through the ground. Tjomsland has now intercepted a pass in back-to-back games for the Raiders.
The Raiders will have a chance to bounce back on Sept. 30 when they hit the road again to take on the South St. Paul Packers. The Packers are currently winless on the year, and their opponents have averaged 47 points per game against them.