Saturday, September 30, 2017
By ERIC FORTUNE
After two sluggish opening drives that resulted in a turnover near midfield and then a three-and-out, the South Range football team found its footing.
Big plays then catapulted the Raiders to Friday’s 34-7 victory over the Crestview.
The Raiders (6-0) and the Rebels (2-4) had been the class of the Inter-Tri County League over the last decade. Now as independents, South Range has kept the momentum going while Crestview has dealt with injuries.
All in all, it came down the Raiders’ three-headed monster of Peyton Remish (123 yards rushing), Aniello Buzzacco (136 yards passing, 77 yards rushing), and Mathias Combs (93 yards receiving).
“Those three are fantastic ballplayers and great men,” South Range coach Dan Yeagley said. “It’s nice that they can’t concentrate on one.
“‘Buzz’ can run and throw,” Yeagley said. “You have to watch out for him. Peyton can run the ball like crazy and is a great linebacker to boot. You have Mathias and [Brennan] Toy out there on the edges. We create some problems and matchup problems.”
Early on, it felt like everyone in attendance was in for a classic matchup. Things changed six minutes later.
“They know us and we know them,” Yeagley said. “[Crestview coach Paul Cusick] was doing some nice things to stop us early. It created a little confusion.
“We had to sit down and talk with our linemen and find out what was going on. We made some adjustments. Our backs started seeing what they were doing.”
Remish’s 54-yard run down the Raiders sideline made it 6-0 at the 5:52 mark.
“He’s going to keep on pounding,” Yeagley said. “That’s what he is, a very powerful young man. He’s going to pound for yards, pound for yards and then he has that speed when he breaks it out in the open.”
Less than three minutes later, Buzzacco found Combs on a 12-yard slant to extend the lead to 12-0.
After an interception by Josh Stear, the Raiders were set up at the Rebels 38. Four plays later, Buzzacco’s 21-yard pass to Ryan Davenport made it 20-0 with 34 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
“When you play good teams with good players, that’s what they do,” Cusick said. “They just keep at it, keep at it and they ended up popping a couple. All you can do is hope your guys keep playing hard. Our guys did, but they were better than us.”
South Range put the exclamation point on the first half when Buzzacco found Combs behind the Crestview secondary. Combs took it in from 70 yards out to make it 28-0 at the half.
“It’s really helpful to know that we can run the ball or throw the ball,” Buzzacco said. “Just putting it in the air, I know my receivers are going to go catch the ball.
“It’s a great feeling knowing that I have a good line in front of me. Just running the ball, I know if I keep it, we can make something happen or if Peyton keeps it, he’s obviously a beast, he’s going to keep it and just go.”
South Range added another score in the third quarter to go up 34-0 before a late touchdown run in the fourth quarter by Danny Moore ended the shutout.
“You hold a team like this to seven points, that is very impressive,” Yeagley said.