A second half surge pushed the Raiders to a huge win against Berea Friday night.
Led by sophomore running back Brandon Troxell, who carried the ball 28 times for 280 yards and scored 5 touchdowns, the Raiders romped over the Pirates with a 46-15 win – their second victory of the season.
In a game where both the Raiders regular starting quarterback and head coach were out of the lineup due to injuries, McCreary relied on Bryant and Ryan Jones taking snaps at QB, who threw for 105 yards and ran for a touchdown himself.
Troxell’s impressive night was the highest single-game rushing total for a McCreary player since Aaron Watts gained 334 yards on August 31, 2007, in a 58-54 loss to Williamsburg.
Coach Justin Bozeman was unable to attend the game due to an injury suffered earlier that week in practice, so former head coach, and current assistant Garry Galloway resumed the mantle as the lead play caller Friday night.
Hunter Jones, the Raiders’ normal starting QB was also sidelined due to a sprain, but is expected to return to action this Friday night.
The first half was relatively uneventful compared to the wild second half.
McCreary’s opening drive saw them advance all the way to the Berea 4-yard line, before a fumble ended their chance to take an early lead.
The Pirates would take advantage of the miscue, punching in a touchdown on a 6-play drive for a 6-0 lead.
The Raiders pushed back on their next series, but couldn’t reach the endzone. The drive stalled on a dropped pass on a 4th down attempt, and Berea took over on their own 24.
The Pirates also turned the ball over on downs on their next series, giving McCreary the ball back on their own 31 with 5:31 left in the half.
One highlight of the Raiders drive came when back Hunter Bryant took a handoff and ran about 15-yards up the field, only to lose the ball. Fortunately Chevy Genoe was running alongside providing blocking and grabbed the ball in mid-air and completed the run by tacking on an additional 15-yards on the play. Officials ruled the play a lateral, rather than a fumble, or else the play would have been called dead at the spot of the lost ball.
Five plays later Bryant crossed the goal line on a 5-yard run for his first score of the night. Bryant added 2-poiints on the conversion attempt to put the Raiders up 8-6.
Berea retook the lead on the opening drive of the second half after a McCreary miscue on the kick off.
The Raiders attempted an on-side kick, but the ball spun off the tee and rolled backwards before finally being downed at the Raiders’ own 36.
The McCreary defense stood strong, limiting Berea to only 23-yards on the drive, which ended with a 27-yard Pirate field goal to give them a 9-8 lead.
The Raiders answered on the next series, marching 51-yards in 7 plays. Hunter Bryant brought McCreary to the 2 after a 23-yard run, and two plays later Jones carried the ball across the line to put the Raiders up 14-9.
Berea responded quickly, scoring on their first play from scrimmage on a 71-yard pass and catch to retake the lead, 15-14.
On the next kickoff both teams were flagged for unsportsman like conduct after a brief skirmish on the run back, and that play seemed to wake something up in the Raiders.
A six-play drive ensued, set up by a 15-yard pass from Jones to Genoe that put the Raiders in the red zone. Four plays later Troxell ran in for a 2-yard score. A two-point conversion pass to John Cash put the Raiders up for good, 22-15.
Cash stayed in the limelight for the next play – intercepting a Berea pass at mid-field on their first snap after the McCreary score, and the Raiders were off and running.
A six-play scoring drive followed, helped by a 19-yard rush from Jones, setting up Troxell’s third TD of the night on a 6-yard run. Jones put McCreary up 38-15 when he cartwheeled over defenders for a successful 2-point conversion attempt.
Berea turned the ball over on downs on the next drive, and Troxell kept the Raiders running.
On the fourth play he broke free for a 63-yard touchdown run and a 38-15 lead.
Berea’s next drive was cut short on a Tristian Conaster interception on the Raiders’ 19 to end the threat.
Troxell put a punctuation mark on the night with a 68-yard scoring run in the next series, punching in the final touchdown with 4:12 left in the game. Ryan Strunk added the last 2 points on a conversion catch.
Berea couldn’t do anything in their final two possessions and the Raiders celebrated the 46-15 win.
Troxell’s 280 rushing yards led the Raiders, followed by Bryant with 41, Jones with 9 and Strunk with 1.
Jones finished the night 8-15 passing for 105 yards, with Caleb Cox 1-1 for 15 yards.
Nathan Goins led receivers with 4 catches for 69 yards, both Cash and Genoe caught two balls for a total of 21 yards each, and Strunk caught 1 for 9 yards.
The victory improved McCreary’s record to 2-3 on the season and they hope to even up their mark this Friday night when they host Sheldon Clark at 7:30 p.m.
The Cardinals are 1-4 on the season, but have been outscored 25-148 in their four losses. Their only win was a 61-6 rout over Betsy Lane.