Leader Blues

Saturday, September 06, 2008

SPORTS>>Raiders’ first game one to remember

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter
SEARCY — It’s nice to make history, especially when you can win in the process.

The Riverview Raiders opened their varsity football program with a dramatic 35-32 win over Marked Tree on Friday at Raider Stadium. The Indians rallied in the fourth quarter for two touchdowns to match Riverview score-for-score, but missed all three of their extra-point attempts in the second half.

“They were out here 2,000-plus strong for us tonight,” Hill said. “We just had such a big big crowd. We had all the festivities before the game, and the community has really gotten involved, and did some special things for the kids.

“We couldn’t be any happier. Tonight would have been special regardless of the outcome; winning just makes it that much more special.”

RHS quarterback Grafton Harrell was all over the place for the Raiders on Friday. The junior rushed for 117 yards on eight carries and two touchdowns, and converted two more scores on passes to Zach Feagin and Ben Overstreet for part of his 87 yards passing on the night.

“We’re expecting Grafton to step up this entire season,” said Riverview coach Stuart Hill. “He ran with the ball a little more than we would want him to on a normal night tonight, but he did a great job out there.”

The first half ended in a 14-14 dead heat, but the Raiders found their way to the end zone three times in the third quarter.

Harrell broke the tie early in the third with a 55-yard scamper to put Riverview up 21-14. Marked Tree tied it again shortly thereafter, but Harrell hit Overstreet on a 32-yard pass play to reclaim the lead, and Harrell took it in from three yards out on the next possession for the winning score.

“The offense did a great job tonight,” Hill said. “Defensively, we had a tough time tackling their backs. They had the ball three-fourths of the game; we couldn’t get our defense off the field, but we felt like they couldn’t stop our offense.”

Harrell put the Raiders on the scoreboard first with a 6-yard toss to Feagan, and finished the night 6 of 10.