NILES, OH- Week 6 finally felt like high school football. It was a crisp October night and 2 great football teams were set to battle. South Range traveled to Bo Rein Stadium to face off against the Niles Red Dragons. The Raiders were coming off a big win vs Girard and the Red Dragons were coming off a tough loss to Poland.
The Raiders took their opening drive and went right down the field. 2 big passes from Isaac Allegretto lead the Raiders all the way inside the 10-yard line. First a big pass to Chris Brooks for 37 yards than a screen pass to Anthony Delucia that got down to the 9. That’s when Patrick McCabe took over and carried the ball twice to score for the Raiders. Niles failed to do anything with their first drive. The Raiders took their second turn at the ball and drove for another TD courtesy of McCabe again. Patrick powered his way in from 34 yards out after breaking a couple of tackles on his way to paydirt.
The Raiders looked to be in control of the game when they stopped the Red Dragons again forcing another 3 and out. But the turnover bug stuck when Anthony Delucia fumbled on the Raiders 44-yard line. The Red Dragons took advantage and drove the 44 yards capped off by 4-yard TD run from QB Zack Leonard. The Raiders would answer back taking the ball 75 yards down to the Red Dragon 11. That’s when Allegretto hit Trey Pancake for the 11-yard touchdown. With the Raiders up 21-7, the Defense held tight and kept the Red Dragons at bay for the first half. The Raiders and a chance to get another TD before the half but failed to do so when the Niles defense held their ground not letting the Raiders score on 4th and goal.
The Red Dragons got the ball the second half and made some adjustments at the half. They spread the Raider D by going trips to one side and twins to the other with an empty backfield. This gave Zack Leonard all the space he needed. He now could run or pass and pass he did. He hit Chase Sudzina for the 15-yard touchdown. This fired up the Niles Defense as they forced the Raiders into another turnover when Allegretto was hit from behind and fumbled. And again the Red Dragons capitalized. They drove down to the Raider 4 where Leonard did the rest running in for the TD. With the score tied the momentum was leaning all the way to the Niles side, but the Raiders would not go away so easily. Again Allegretto used his arm to drive the Raiders down the field. And McCabe would punch it in from the 1. Niles would take 7 minutes off the clock and go all the way down to the Raiders 2 after converting a huge 4 and 11. Leonard would call his own number again to tie things at 28. The Raiders would fail to do much with the final 2 minutes, and we would head to overtime.
In the overtime, Niles again would convert a big 4th down to get the drive alive. The workhorse for the Dragons David Mays would do some hard running and get them inside the 2. Brandon Hayes would run the ball in for the lead. The Raiders would take their turn at OT and find success. Allegretto again would find his senior WR Chris Brooks for a 21 yd touchdown strike. And all that was left to go to OT 2 was the extra point. But unfortunately for the Raiders, it was missed wide left. Leaving the Raiders on the wrong end of a 35-34 OT score. For the Red Dragons Leonard finished with 63 yards rushing on 14 attempts with 2 touchdowns, and was 12-19 with 123 yards passing and 1 TD. Running back David Mays finished with 69 yards on 11 carries.
For the Raiders Allegretto 13-20 for 221 yards and 2 touchdowns. McCabe was the leading rusher with 64 yards on 13 carries with 3 touchdowns. Chris Brooks finished with 2 receptions for 60 yards and 1 score. The Red Dragons hit the road to Struthers next week and the Raiders return home to face Jefferson.
*Story contributed by YSN’s Paul Munson