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Raiders Break Mustangs, 56-14 Face Tough Test Next Against Mitchell

SIDNEY-- Head Coach Ryan Smith couldn't have asked for a better opening to the 2023 season, with three big wins against beatable opponents and a Red Raider team brimming with confidence as they prepare for Friday's match up with a strong Mitchell Tigers team at Weymouth field.

Last Friday night the winless Gordon-Rushville Mustangs visited Sidney, and from the start, the Mustangs were game, but overmatched by the powerhouse Sidney rushing attack. The Mustangs were much smaller than the Red Raiders, with 6'4" 240 lb. junior lineman Lain Tausan being the only imposing Gordon-Rushville player in the trenches. The Mustangs had lost big to Chadron in their opener and almost stole a victory against Alliance last week, but the scrappy Mustang team struggled with containing the Sidney offense, and Sidney's aggressive and swarming defense was unrelenting the entire contest.

Sidney started the game on offense, and after two plays with short gains, senior quarterback Isak Doty connected with junior Patrick McCartney on a long pass, taking Sidney down to the Gordon-Rushville 11 yard line. Senior Luke Holly was able to get past the defensive end on the next play, and trotted into the end zone for Sidney's first score. Gordon-Rushville started their first drive with two plays that gained no yardage, but on third down, the Mustangs exploited one of the few weak spots in the Raider defense, and sophomore quarterback Johnny Ziller connected with junior Bronson Freeman on a long pass over the middle, behind the Sidney defenders. A few plays later, the Mustangs were able to cash in on a one-yard run and the game was tied at 7-to-7. Sidney started their second drive, and after a long run by Isak Doty brought them close, Doty then finished off the drive with a pretty pass to Keian Kaiser to take a 14-to-7 lead.

Sidney ramped up their defense and forced a three-and-out on the Mustangs' next drive. Sidney drove again, and senior Luke Holly had a solid run in the red zone dodging defenders and reaching the end zone, but it was called back by a Sidney holding penalty. Holly followed with a 14 yard run, down to the Mustangs' 6 yard line, then burst into the end zone on the next play for a 6 yard touchdown for Sidney. The score was 21-to-7, and the rout was on.

Sidney piled up 34 points in the second quarter of the game, scoring after a fumble recovery deep in Gordon-Rushville territory, then scoring again after forcing another three-and-out on the Mustangs. At the halftime intermission, Sidney was cruising with a 48-to-7 lead. Sidney burned the clock in the second half, putting up 8 more points in the third quarter, and the Mustangs were able to tally a touchdown in the waning moments of the game, to round out the scoring, at 56-to-14 in Sidney's favor. Isak Doty was 9-for-11 passing for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns and rushed five times for 57 yards. Luke Holly had a great day rushing, cutting through the Mustang defense with 9 carries for 105 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Red Raiders generated 404 total yards on offense, 210 rushing and 194 through the air in a very balanced attack. Keian Kaiser led the defense with 10 total tackles, and the defense generated 3 turnovers.

On Friday, the Red Raiders host Mitchell for their Homecoming game. Mitchell comes into the contest with a 3-and-0 record, beating two Wyoming teams in Wheatland and Torrington, and defeating Chadron 42-to-14 in their last game. Mitchell has a high-scoring offense led by dual-threat runner and passer senior Cael Peters. This run-heavy offense also has standout rushers Santi Castillo and Dez Smith, and will look to pound the ball against the Sidney defense and control the time of possession. The Tigers have 15 rushing touchdowns in three games against just 4 passing touchdowns, so look for the Tigers to keep the ball on the ground against Sidney. Sidney's defense has played very well against the run, but has not yet been tested by running backs as good as Mitchell's. Look for the game to be a battle of the lines, and if Sidney can keep up with their good line play and give Doty and Holly a few holes to run through, the Raiders have a very good shot for their fourth win. Sidney's defense just needs to stay disciplined and keep the Tigers from getting around the outside to contain their offense. However, with the quality of the Tiger's runners, that very well may be easier said than done.

 

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