Raiders win 31-6 victory over UMW

By Andy Combs

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ASHLAND, ORE. —The Raiders led a 31-6 victory over the UMW Bulldogs Saturday to bring Southern Oregon to their now 6-0 record—the first time in 47 years.

The Hall of Fame weekend paid homage to some past greats while the new generation of Raiders, including NAIA history-maker quarterback Austin Dodge, 3, who displayed a skillful offense and a powerful defense.

After a 48 yd field goal by kicker Alex Nelson, 85, the Raiders were on the board 3-0 at the start of the first quarter. The tenacious SOU defensive line held Bulldogs quarterback Tyler Hulse and the offense at bay until they had to turn over the ball. Keegan Lawrence’s 26-yard punt return and a  connecting pass between Dodge and wide receiver Ryan Restlaff, 12, took the Raiders into Bulldog territory early on, setting the tone for the rest of the game.

The first play of the second quarter saw Southern Oregon’s first touchdown, and another successful kick by Nelson brought the score up to 10-0, Raiders.

Over-thrown passes and a false start penalty kept the Bulldogs at zero throughout the second quarter, while a well-executed passing game, including another incredible cross-field connection from Dodge to wide receiver Dylan Young, were some of the highlights going into the end of the first half.

The halftime show featured the SOU Cheerleading Squad, the SOU Dance team, and SOU Sports Hall of Fame alumnis. Music was provided by the Oregon Center for the Arts.

The sunny Saturday afternoon was the perfect venue to begin the second half as the Raiders flooded onto the field, which has recently been replaced by a synthetic turf material that feels as though one’s walking on crisp, clear October air.

UMW was first up with a 20-yard punt return. At first it seemed as though the Bulldogs had gained some inspirado during the halftime break, but in no time they were punting the ball away again. The Raiders’ first few attempts saw a clean passing game and an impossible catch made by running back Sean Tow, 17, to bring the Raiders to the 1 yard line. A hand-off to Sean Tow in the next play brought another touchdown, giving the Raiders a 17-0 lead at 11:27 in the third quarter.

A 15-yard-penalty, two more over-thrown passes by Montana Western, and another quarterback sack—the second of the game—worked against the Bulldogs throughout the rest of the half. However, once again the Raiders blazed down the field to the cheers of the Ashland crowd and the sync-rock anthems of the band, scoring three more touchdowns before the fourth quarter had barely begun.  At a final score of 31 to 6, the Raiders’ winning streak continues unbroken.

Wide receiver Dylan young, who made a stellar 26-yard catch in the third quarter is excited about the win and about the team’s record thus far: “The season’s going really good…Everyone out here, we all have one goal: we’re all focused on one thing and that’s just to keep winning, game by game. No matter what the score looks like, as long as we keep getting the Ws and end up in the natty.”

The next home game will be against Rocky Mountain College on November 1.

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