South Range No. 1 in Tier One: Raiders rush past rivals, 26-12
Springfield managed just 151 yards on offense.
By GREG GULAS
NEW MIDDLETOWN - Steve Bensinger ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns, while Jack Dawson and Tommy Shives each added a score, as South Range High defeated Springfield, 26-12 in Inter Tri-County League Tier One game Friday night.
The Raiders (9-0, 6-0), ranked second in the state in Division V in the Associated Press poll and No. 3 in the computer ratings, posted 242 of their 276 total yards on the ground en route to their 22nd straight regular season victory, clinching the Tier One championship.
The Tigers (5-4, 3-3) managed just 151 yards.
"This was just one great game. You can throw the records out when these two teams meet and that was most evident tonight," Raiders coach Dan Yeagley said.
"The final score tonight did not surprise me at all. The Tigers are well-schooled and Coach [John] Smith always has them ready to play. They have athletes who make plays despite the weather conditions. We felt lucky to be able to get the ball into the end zone," he added.
A steady drizzle prior to the game kept footing for both teams at a premium, and that in part contributed to a scoreless first period.
Dawson got the Raiders going in the second frame, however, scoring from 5 yards out at 9:20 of the quarter to cap a 16-play, 80-yard drive that consumed 6:02.
When the placement failed, the Raiders had to settle for the early 6-0 advantage.
Shives' touchdown scamper from 6 yards out and Dawson's conversion pass to Rach at 4:16 increased the South Range lead to 14-0, but Tigers quarterback Nate Schuler found Brandon Goist from 5 yards away just before the intermission to cut the Raiders lead to 14-6 after the first 24 minutes.
"The Tigers have an excellent defense, but I would also have to credit to our offensive line because they did a great job under such adverse conditions. [Steve] Bensinger found the seams our line was able to open for him and although [Jack] Dawson is just a sophomore, he did an excellent job of both running and throwing the ball for us tonight," Yeagley added.
"At the beginning of the year we decided to go with him under center, and I guess it's safe to say that he has performed beyond his years for us thus far."
Casey Jones' 16-yard run midway through the third period cut the Raiders lead to 14-12, but Bensinger's first score from 6 yards out on the next possession increased the South Range lead to 20-12 with 12 minutes remaining.
Bensinger's second score with 1:33 remaining in the game, this time from 9 yards out, proved to be the icing on the cake for the Raiders.
Dawson was 3-for-8 for 34 yards and an interception and Shives added 41 yards on 12 carries for South Range.
Tigers quarterback Nate Schuler had a team-high 59 yards rushing and completed 8-of-21 attempts for 43 yards but suffered two interceptions.