Raiders win thriller at Princeton
Danny McDowell Sports Writer
The Midway Raiders traveled to Johnston County Friday night to tangle with the Princeton Bulldogs of the Carolina 1A Conference. The Raiders struggled offensively most of the evening but scored late to post a 14-7 victory.
Neither team could find the end zone in the first half, although the Bulldogs threatened on several occasions. In fact, on their opening possession they marched to the Midway 16 yard line before being stopped on 4th and 5.
Midway’s first possession came with 7:58 left in the first quarter. However, a quick turnover returned the football to the Bulldogs. For the second time in the period, Princeton had 4th and 5 on the Midway 16. And once again the Raiders held.
After the Raiders failed to get anything going on offense, a Junior Barajas punt gave the Bulldogs another possession. This time the home team got to 4th and 11 on the Midway 15 and again the Raider defense turned them away empty handed.
Unbelievably, following another failed Raider possession, Princeton advanced to the Midway 13 on a 62 yard deflected pass reception by Malcolm Best. On 4th and 2 from the 5 yard line, the Raider defense held again. The first half ended without a score.
In the third quarter, the Bulldogs hit pay dirt at the 8:35 mark. Johnny Frasier ran 71 yards for the score.
The Raiders answered on their ensuing possession. After quarterback Taylor Calcutt ran 18 yards for a first down on a 4th and 5 play, the Raiders took a timeout. Calcutt then connected with Tyler Pope for a 20 yard touchdown pass and a 7-7 tie. Barajas nailed the extra point. 4:34 remained in the third period.
The two team swapped punts and turnovers during the remainder of the 3rd period and for most of the 4th. With 1:21 remaining in the final frame, the Bulldogs were forced to punt from their own 43. The Raiders began their final drive from their own 28.
With 22 seconds left and spectators talking about overtime, Calcutt found Drake Strickland for a 57 yard touchdown pass. The Barajas PAT gave Midway a 14-7 lead.
Following an out of bounds Raider kickoff, the Bulldogs moved from their own 35 to the Raider 39 and still had 8 seconds left. Quarterback Michael Wooten got 2 more passes off but both fell incomplete. The Raiders had held them one last time.
“In the first half, we couldn’t get field position,” stressed a jubilant Midway head coach Tommy Sloan. “In the second half we hit a couple of good passes and Drake made a heck of a catch. I thought the defense played great. Princeton had a good game plan.”
Sloan also praised the work of punter Junior Barajas, who punted 5 times for a 38 yard average.
Offensively for the Raiders, Calcutt ran for 85 yards on 12 carries. He was 5-11 in passing for 119 yards. He threw for both touchdowns and gave up 1 interception.
Strickland and Pope were the leading receivers with 57 and 34 yards respectively.
J. D. Lockamy led the way in tackles with 8. Luke Clark, Collin Warren, and Pope had 6 take downs each.
Frazier led Princeton’s offense with 171 yards on the ground and 67 yards receiving.
Midway will host Rosewood next Friday night. The Raiders are 2-0.
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