Rummel rides early offense, typically stout defense to 17-7 win over Holy Cross
NEW ORLEANS – The streak of not allowing touchdowns may have come to an end, but the streak of defensive dominance was still on full display for the Rummel Raiders as they stuffed Holy Cross for a 17-7 victory Friday night at Tad Gormley Stadium.
Coming into the game, Rummel (7-0, 3-0) had not give up a single point the past three games, had not given up a point to an in-state opponent in four games and had only allowed two field goals for the entire season. Much of the Raiders defensive success can be credited to the 22 turnovers they’ve generated through the first six games of the season. While the shutout and touchdown streak was halted, the Raiders defense did generate another turnover to increase the tally to 23 for the year.
The Raiders also got after Holy Cross quarterback John Wooten all night long, pressuring the junior all night long on the way to recording five sacks. A valiant Wooten finished just 10-24 passing for 108 yards. As a team, Holy Cross (4-3, 1-2) barely broke even rushing, tallying only 8 net yards on the ground.
Rummel looked like they were going to have their way offensively as they scored on their first two possessions of the night. After receiving the opening kick, the Raiders started at their own 41-yard line. Seven plays later, Rummel struck first with as quarterback Kyle Wickersham connected with Tyler Cook for a 24-yard touchdown pass, giving the Raiders a 7-0 lead with 8:51 to play in the first quarter.
The Raider defense would quickly get the offense back on the field, generating a fumble on the third play of the opening possessing for Holy Cross. The Raiders scooped up the loose ball and returned it to the Tigers’ 25-yard line. From there, Wickersham only needed two plays to add to Rummel’s lead as he connected with Koy Moore for a 14-yard touchdown pass to extend Rummel’s lead to 14-0 with 6:41 to play in the first quarter.
Rummel looked to add to the lead on their next possession and make it three straight drives with points to start the game. Starting near mid-field at their own 47-yard line, the Raiders marched down to the Holy Cross 23-yard line before the drive stalled out. Patrick Vanderbrook came on to attempt a 40-yard field goal but the snap was off the mark. The holder fell on the loose ball and ended the Raider drive without any points.
Rummel again found themselves looking to add to their lead on the final drive of the first half. Starting on their own 15-yard line, the Raiders rattled off two straight 14-yard gains and benefitted from a 15-yard personal foul penalty against the Tigers to move the ball up to the Holy Cross 42-yard line. Another Wickersham pass to Moore moved the ball up to the 32-yard line and Vanderbrook was sent on to attempt a 49-yard field goal. This time the snap was perfect, however the kick ran out of steam on the way to the goalposts and fell short of the crossbar to leave the score at 14-0 in favor of Rummel at Halftime.
After both teams traded possessions to start the second half, Holy Cross finally found some offensive success. Following an errant punt, the Tigers started at the Rummel 37-yard line mid-way through the 3rd quarter. Wooten’s 15-yard pass moved the ball up to the Rummel 20-yard line and two plays later, a personal foul penalty against the Raiders would give Holy Cross first down on the Rummel 14-yard line.
Wooten connected on a 10-yard pass the very next play, putting Holy Cross inside the Rummel 5-yard line. Three plays later, Holy Cross finally did something no other team has done all season as Celven Hulbert punched it into the end zone to cut the Raider lead in half to 14-7 with 3:50 to play in the 3rd quarter.
Seeing an opponent score a touchdown on their defense seemed to provide a spark to the Raiders offense, as Rummel immediately answered by quickly moving the ball deep inside Holy Cross territory. Four straight Wickersham completions moved the Raiders inside the red zone to the Holy Cross 16-yard line. However, the drive stalled out and Rummel would settle for a 33-yard Vanderbrook Field Goal to bring the score to the final tally of 17-7 with :03 to play in the third quarter.
Rummel will look to keep their winning streak going and start a new shutout streak next Saturday as they host district foe St. Augustine at Joe Yenni Stadium.
Things don’t get any easier for Holy Cross next week as they host defending Division I state champion and top-ranked John Curtis next Friday night at Tad Gormley Stadium.
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