By Ryan Buck
The South Range Raiders made their fair share of mistakes Friday night in their annual tilt with Inter Tri-County League rival Springfield. Coach Dan Yeagley’s squad turned the ball over twice in the second half and incurred five costly penalties.
When the Raiders needed big plays, however, they rose to the challenge in their 27-12 victory at Springfield Tiger Stadium.
“I think a lot of that is just because of the rivalry,” Yeagley said of the peculiarity of the contest. “It’s always going to be a good game. You’re going to fight and fight and somebody’s going to take advantage of something and somebody’s going to make someone else pay.”
The Raiders (7-2) responded quickly after Springfield (3-5) took a 6-0 lead. A 40-yard run from quarterback Ross Stoffer, an 18-yard burst up the middle from running back Joey Phillips, and Stoffer’s 18-yard keeper to cap a touchdown drive with a made extra point gave South Range a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter.
Stoffer, a 6-foot-2 senior, executes the Raiders’ offense with deadly precision.
“Ross is a great leader,” Yeagley said. “He understands the whole system. We had a couple big, key runs tonight. He would read it and he understood what he had to do.”
With 3:23 remaining the first half, Stoffer and the offense took over at the Springfield 48. This drive, it was Jake Arsuffi’s turn. The senior running back carried all three times on the drive with runs of eight, 15, and a 25- yarder for a 14-6 lead.
“We called a jet-sweep left and the line did a great job pulling holes,” said Arsuffi, describing his touchdown run. “Robbie Seman made a great block, I just cut under him and scored. It was wide open.”
Springfield mounted their best drive of the night in a two-minute drill as time was running out in the first half.
Snyder completed four of six passes for 52 yards to set the Tigers up at the Raiders’ 16 yard-line. On second-and-ten with 52 seconds left, defensive lineman Nathan Hugenberg broke through the line and sacked Snyder for a nine-yard loss. Chris Wells’ 39- yard field goal attempt was short.
“It was huge,” Yeagley said of the stop. “They had a little momentum there and to stop them and go into halftime was a relief.”
Springfield closed to deficit to two after turning a Stoffer interception into six points from a Ryan Kohler touchdown run four minutes in the third.
Five plays and two-and-a-half minutes later, Stoffer atoned for his miscue with a 45-yard touchdown run for a 21-12 lead.
“Ross reads the end as he comes up to the line of scrimmage and he just keeps it,” Arsuffi said of the read-option plays from Stoffer.
South Range forced two Wells fumbles to deter a comeback from the Tigers, including one on their own five-yard line.
After Stoffer was knocked out of the game with an injury, David McCabe completed the scoring with a 34-yard score with 3:14 left in the game.