Behind an impressive defense that suffocated the Hawks all night, the Blue and Gold rolled to a 46-0 shutout victory.
In the first half, Hug possessed the ball for six drives and never managed to cross midfield once. Of the Hawks' six drives, Reed forced three punts, two turnovers and a safety.
“You’re always looking for something that you can hang your hat on at the end of the game, and tonight it was definitely the defense,” Reed coach Ernie Howren said. “I thought they just played lights out the entire game. They just never gave an inch. I’m really proud of their effort.”
After a 34-yard field goal from Reed’s Chris Denn opened the scoring to give the Raiders a 3-0 edge, the RHS gridders forced a Hug three-and-out to get the ball back into the hands of its offense.
This time around, the Raiders did not settle for a field goal as they took advantage of a short field. With a first-and-goal from the 5-yard line, quarterback Mark Nowaczewski sprinted right before handing off to Brett Chaney, who was running in the opposite direction. Chaney then pitched the ball to Devin Gray who took the double reverse in for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead at the 5:09 mark of the first quarter.
The Hawks' next drive was abruptly ended when Reed forced a fumble that was pounced on by senior lineman Austin Corbett. Unfortunately for the hosts, its offense stalled as the two sides exchanged punts on five ensuing drives.
With the offense unable to produce any points, the defense and special teams took matters into their own hands. The Raiders' 'D' pinned Hug at its 1-yard line before chasing the Hawks' punter out of the back of the end zone on a punt for a safety. That left the scoreboard reading 12-0 with 2:10 remaining until halftime.
Reed took the following free kick after the safety and added to its lead with a quick strike. Nowaczewski hit Gray on a slant over the middle before breaking a tackle and streaking for a 35-yard score to hand the Raiders a 19-0 advantage heading into the intermission.
The momentum at the end of the first half seemed to carry over into the third quarter for the Raiders. Reed got right back to business to start the second half.
Hug’s opening drive went three-and-out, which gave the ball to the Raiders at midfield. From there, the Raiders chipped their way down to the goal line before running back Ty Shepard took a 1-yard plunge into the end zone to push the lead to 26-0 at the 8:27 mark of the third.
Another Hawks punt, after three offensive plays, led to a quick grab and score from Reed wide receiver Marty Hargrove. He took a pass from Nowaczewski on a slant, shook off a defender and raced to a 34-yard score with 4:52 to play in the third for a 32-0 Reed lead.
Hug turned the ball over on downs its next possession, and again the Raiders turned it into points, this time on a 64-yard scramble by Nowaczewski. He rolled to the right and then darted past would-be tacklers to push the score to 39-0 just before the start of the fourth quarter.
Reed added one more score in the fourth quarter when reserve running back Jordan Deleon took the first handoff he received straight up the gut for a 59-yard TD scamper for the 46-0 final.
“Defense was No.1, and then I am proud of the guys coming out after half and playing very good football in all three phases of the game,” Howren said. “We challenged the kids at halftime and said ‘This isn’t us offensively, we have to step up.’ The defense and special teams kept matching what they were doing in the first half, and then finally the offense came around.”
Nowaczewski finished the game 7-of-19 passing for 126 yards with two touchdowns. Gray led the receivers with three catches for 68 yards and a score while Hargrove grabbed the other TD on his lone catch of the night. Shepard led the Raider ground attack, rushing 14 times for 121 yards and a score. Nowaczewski also totaled 118 rushing yards on 11 carries with a TD.
While Howren was pleased with the win, he said there is still a long way to go for the Raiders.
“We have to execute offensively. At some point, at every position from the O-line, running backs, quarterback, wide receivers, we all have to be on the same page,” Howren said. “It’s a collective effort right now as far as the lack of execution that we have. At some point ,it has to be a team effort of executing. Until that changes, you’re going to see us doing what we’re doing. We’re putting up yards, but we can’t put the ball in the end zone.”
Reed (4-3) will host its final home game of the regular season against North Valleys Friday with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.