Southern Oregon University Raider Football conquered their first home game of the season against College of Idaho. The final score: SOU 35, COI 28. Now the Raiders look to their big game against Montana Tech next Saturday.
“At the end of the day it feels good to get a win,” said senior running back Rey Vega, who had 24 carries and rushed 158 yards, turning in two touchdowns. One of which, towards the end of the fourth quarter.
Uncharacteristically, freshman linebacker Jake Regino stepped in for senior linebacker Devvon Gage who is temporarily out due to injury. Traditionally freshmen do not see as much play time compared to their senior counterparts. “The next guy that was up was a freshman, so he went in there and did a great job,” said Head Football Coach Charlie Hall.
Marking the first interception of his career, Xavier Smith picked off Darius-James Peterson with 5:33 left in the game. “The big pick by Xavier Smith, that was huge,” said Keegan Lawrence, Assistant Safety Coach.
Defensive back AJ Cooper was disqualified from the game during the second quarter for targeting. He was disqualified from the rest of the game and will remain disqualified for the first half of the next week’s game, unless commissioner officials from the Frontier Conference decide otherwise. In which case Cooper could be reinstated to play the first half of next week’s game. Commissioner officials will review the film today and a final judgement will be made.
“I don’t see AJ targeting the kid… from just seeing it right there with my own eyes,” said Hall. He continued “We’re at the mercy of judgement here.”
Hall explained that, despite their win, the Raiders still have room for improvement. “We were taking two steps forward and one step back, we just want better continuity,” said Hall after the game. Hall emphasized that the team needs to be better at “winning the turnover war.” In addition, the head coach wants to reduce the amount of penalties the Raiders receive.
SOU Football has traditionally been a stronger passing team, but that’s beginning to change as the Raiders are becoming a better running team. Having both a strong passing and running team is ideal. “That’s an area where we can improve on and I know we will because we’re very committed to that process,” said Hall.
“Once we start hitting on, quote on quote, all cylinder I think offensively we’ll be a pretty dangerous football team,” he said
Vega felt very confident after the Raiders second game win, stating “I feel like we’re going to go all the way. Our goal from day one was to go to the National Championship and that’s what we set out to do.”
Coach Lawrence, though, was more cautious. “We’re one game at a time, try to go 1 and 0 each week and if you do that the rest will take care of itself,” he said.
The Raiders will face off against Montana Tech next Saturday, 1 p.m. at Raider Stadium. Next week’s game not only stands as the bigger rivalry game but also as the team’s dedication game.
During the dedication game next week each player will dedicate their performance to someone who has helped them in their football career. Seniors will then be asked to share with the team the person they are dedicating the game to.
“There’s always going to be a dedication to coach Howard. He’s still a fixture in this program and he’s still a person that’s responsible for getting a lot of these people here at Southern Oregon,” said Hall. Next Saturday will be a more emotional day for the team, being both a big game and dedication game.