Raiders vs. Jaguars

The Raiders were outlasted by the Bloomington-Jefferson Jaguars 29-22 at Todd Field on Oct. 13, in a game that see-sawed back and forth until Jefferson scored the winning touchdown with just over 3 minutes left in the game.

The game certainly got off to an ideal start for the Raiders. Some early jockeying took place, but a key special teams play and a couple of methodical drives had the Raiders in front 14-0 at halftime.

The Raiders found traction on their initial drive, but they would turn it over on downs after fizzling out at the Jaguars’ 29 yard-line. Having marched deep into Raiders’ territory, the Jaguars' opening possession would also stall out, in large part due to penalties, and they opted to try for a 29-yard field goal.

Junior Raider Vincent Zeyen quashed the Jaguars’ attempt at the ever-elusive high school field goal after a mishandled snap gave him just enough time to burst through the line and block the kick. The big play injected life into the Raiders, and they quickly channeled that momentum on their way to the game’s first points.

Orchestrating a nine-play drive totaling 81 yards, the Raiders relied heavily on running back Payton Burow, who capped the drive with a 17-yard touchdown run up the gut.

Burow and the Raiders’ ground game followed up last week with another strong showing, rushing for 151 yards on 30 attempts. Burow was effective and decisive for much of the contest, leading all rushers for the Raiders with 22 carries for 135 yards and a touchdown. 

A good series from the Raiders defense forced a punt, but the Raiders would soon give the ball right back to the Jaguars on a fourth-down interception thrown by quarterback Daniel Milner. The Raiders stood tall on defense once more, this time forcing a turnover on downs near midfield, and gave their offense the ball back with a little over two minutes to go in the first half. 

Operating the hurry-up offense, Milner delivered for the Raiders with a 9-yard touchdown run to stretch their lead to 14-0 with 18 seconds remaining in the half. However, the Jaguars quickly flipped the script in the second half though, and the game devolved into a back and forth affair featuring three lead changes in the fourth quarter.

Outside of the touchdown run, it was a night to forget for Milner, who went 8-15 passing for 81 yards and three interceptions, the second and third of which came on back-to-back possessions in the second half. Despite the yardage gained on the score, Milner was brought down in the backfield several times and finished the game with -4 rushing yards on 4 carries.

To open the third quarter, the Jaguars had a long kickoff return voided because of an illegal block, but they were unphased. Starting at their own 30-yard line, the Jaguars refused to be denied on a touchdown drive that took just over 7 minutes off the clock.

Jaguars quarterback Tyson Schultz got just enough yardage scrambling on fourth and six to keep the drive going, and he later caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Daniel Freitag on a trick play to cut the lead in half.  

The Jaguars consistently broke tackles and gained yards after contact, and Freitag was usually the culprit.

Freitag was the ultimate swiss army knife for the Jaguars, accumulating 11 carries for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns and 5 catches for 47 yards and a 2-point conversion reception. He was also a difference-maker for the Jaguars’ defense, snagging an interception early in the fourth quarter and breaking up multiple deep shots from the Raiders. 

Whether it was on a jet sweep or a direct snap in the wildcat formation, Freitag was a threat every time he touched the ball. He scored on a 13-yard run to tie the game, and on the 6-yard run that put the Jaguars up for good.

Tackling, as well as an inability to take advantage of the Jaguars’ miscues, were glaring issues for the Raiders defense, particularly late in the game. Offensively, turnovers spelled doom for the Raiders. 

While both teams shot themselves in the foot with infractions (23 total penalties called), the Jaguars crippled themselves the most, racking up 17 penalties for 180 yards. Unfortunately for the Raiders, they were unable to capitalize on those mistakes, especially on defense, and continually gave up chunk plays that kept the Jaguars’ drives alive.

Even after giving up 21 unanswered points, there was a brief glimmer of hope for the Raiders.

After the Jaguars took their first lead of the game, Burow took the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for the touchdown. It was Burow’s second kickoff return touchdown in as many weeks. 

Unsatisfied with a potential tie, the Raiders wound up converting their two-point conversion attempt on a reverse to receiver Johnny Bezdicek, which put them back in front 22-21 with 7:04 remaining in the game.  

Unfortunately, the Raiders just couldn’t make the plays they needed to on both sides of the football in crunch time. The Jaguars shook off multiple penalties on their 60-yard drive to reclaim the lead, and they stifled the Raiders final attempts to rally.

The Raiders (3-4) hope to rebound this week in a Wednesday night road game against Cretin-Derham Hall (1-6). Cretin-Derham Hall got their first victory of the season versus the Two River Warriors 24-12 last week.

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