Coming off a 49-7 win at North Valleys, the Raiders returned home this week to host Galena in a conference match-up. Reed coach Ernie Howren said following the win over the Panthers that his offense needed to improve its execution after scoring just 14 points in the first half. But once again, the Raiders could only muster two touchdowns in the first 24 minutes and began the second half with their opponent clearly in the rear-view mirror.
Reed started quickly with a 46-yard touchdown run by junior Chad Gray on the first play of the game. That was followed by a volley of possessions by the Grizzlies and Raiders resulting in no points on the board. It wasn’t until with 9:45 remaining in the second quarter that Reed scored again, this time on a 4-yard touchdown run by quarterback Brent Showalter.
“It’s always a concern when you’re not executing,” Howren said, “But you always have to remember at the beginning of any game the other team is working their tail off, they’re scouting, they’re putting together schemes to stop you and Galena’s one of those programs, one of those coaching staffs that’s going to put together a scheme to test you and make you have to work. That first half they were all over us. That first half was not just because of us not executing, it all comes down to Galena played their tails off.”
Heading into the locker room at intermission, Howren’s team needed to refocus and change its attitude, and so it did. After stopping Galena on the opening drive of the half, Showalter took the lead with a 36-yard carry deep into Grizzly territory. Junior running back John Covello, who had 88 total yards on the ground, capped the drive by rushing 3 yards for a touchdown. Anthony Silva, who was perfect on the night, added the extra point for a 21-0 lead.
The Reed defense did its job again — as it has all season — by stopping the Galena ground attack. And on the Blue and Gold’s next possession, the Raiders got a big catch and run by junior Connor Cox, who dashed 53 yards from his own 38. Showalter, who rushed for 101 yards on the night, capped the drive with one of his two rushing touchdowns.
Despite a four-touchdown deficit, Galena continued to pound the ball on the ground, perhaps because quarterback Tucker Melcher struggled most of the night.
After Reed added two more touchdowns, on a 9-yard run by Covello and a 69-yard interception return by Spencer Stockton, Galena avoided a shutout by methodically driving and finally scoring on a 2-yard run by senior Tanner Sims.
After the clock hit double-zero, Howren focused first on the addition to the win column.
“The most important part is getting a league victory,” he said. “At this point every league game counts, but not you’re talking about positioning in league.”
But he did not overlook his team’s second straight slow start and the need to improve execution.
“What is it going to take to come out and play like we did in the third quarter offensively? We need to do that in the first and second quarter,” he said.
The Raiders improved to 5-1 overall (4-0 in league), while the Grizzlies dropped to 1-4 overall. Next weekend, Reed travels to Bishop Manogue for a Saturday afternoon game.