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Raiders beat Pierce in back-and-forth season opener game

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The Raiders fumble and recover the football on the goal line against LA Pierce. In a back and forth game the Raiders fumbled three times and lost possession twice as a result. The Raiders scored on their last drive of the game to win 36-34.

The Raiders fumble and recover the football on the goal line against LA Pierce. In a back and forth game the Raiders fumbled three times and lost possession twice as a result. The Raiders scored on their last drive of the game to win 36-34.

Eric Caldwell

Eric Caldwell

The Raiders fumble and recover the football on the goal line against LA Pierce. In a back and forth game the Raiders fumbled three times and lost possession twice as a result. The Raiders scored on their last drive of the game to win 36-34.

Eric Caldwell, Managing Editor

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The Raiders won their season opener in an exciting fashion on Saturday evening, defeating Los Angeles Pierce College 36-34. With the Raiders on their last drive and trailing 30-34, the offense faced a 3rd and 11, quarterback Tanner Darling connected with wide receiver Vincent Corso in the left corner of the end-zone with only 1:16 remaining to take the final lead of the game.

“Its a gritty group they fight, they work off each other’s emotions and I thought they stuck into this game,” said Head Coach Stuart. “We could have easily folded, especially after that last turnover, but to see them go back out their rebound and stop them on defense and then go down and score like that, it shows a lot to this group of young players.”

Last weekend, the Raiders put up 35 points in just three quarters for their warmup scrimmage against the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen. The offense continued to roll on Saturday as the Raiders compiled 484 yards of total offense against LA Pierce.

The running game was especially effective accumulating 341 yards. The offensive line opened holes for a running back group that consisted mainly of  Edyon Batta, Anthony McClain and  Marc Martin. While the run game dominated throughout the game the Raiders did have two lost fumbles that impeded scoring opportunities.

“We lost the ball twice off of fumbles and we fumbled it again but we ended up recovering it for a touchdown,” said running back Anthony Martin. “So it was three potential turnovers and we came back and fought adversity and played as one, offense and defense coming together rallying around each other and just playing through the game and that’s what led to the victory.” 

Initiating a strong run game was the plan for this game, and was something Head Coach Stuart has preached to his team as a year long goal. A strong run game starts with the offensive line opening holes up the middle, but often times long outside runs are largely due to the receivers blocking the secondary, as was the case in Batta’s 64-yard rushing touchdown.

While the Raiders stuck mainly to the run game, the receivers stayed focused, and their blocking played a key factor in this win.

“We came out with a game plan of having a run heavy game, receivers just a lot of blocking getting to the safeties and the slot and same with the outside. Just establishing the run early in the season,” said wide receiver/slot Kameron Prentiss-Brown. “It was an unselfish kind of mindset for us receivers, but we’ll have our time next week, but this was a big game plan the running game.”

The Raiders defense had also played better than the score may have indicated. Some of the turnovers by the offense resulted in good field position for LA Pierce, but when it mattered most, the defense forced a punt late in the game that allowed the offense one last chance to take the lead. The offense took advantage, and scored off the defense’s tough late game stand. On the ensuing drive for LA Pierce, linebacker Justin Mitts intercepted a pass to seal the victory.

“Going into week one you don’t really know what to expect.. you don’t really have film on anybody, and teams change every year, so we decided to stick with the game and do what we do best,” said receiver Corso. “It was definitely a game of ups and downs but we came out with the W and that’s all that matters.”

Next weekend, Sept. 9th, the Raiders are going on the road to El Camino College at 6 p.m.

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