On paper, it looked like it would be a good game when the 3-1 Arlington-Lake Preston Badgers went down to Rutland Sept. 25 to take on the 3-2 Oldham-Ramona/Rutland Raiders. But on the field, the big-play Badgers dominated, rolling to a 36-0 win.
The 4-1 Badgers will host the 2-2 Baltic Bulldogs in Arlington’s Homecoming game this week, starting at 7 p.m. at Gilbertson-Anderson Field.
The Badgers and the Raiders played it close in the first quarter, but a 24-point second quarter by the Badgers blew the game wide open, with A-LP cruising to a 36-0 win for their first shutout of the season.
The Badgers started with a roar, with Jasper Denison hitting Christopher Wallace for a 34-yard catch-and-run over the middle on the first play of the game. That moved the ball to O-R/R’s 24, and after Mason Bunker ran for 13 to the 11, Tate Larsen went for nine.
On a second-and-one, Larsen scored from the two up the middle, and just 91 seconds into the game, A-LP had a 6-0 lead. The two-point run was stopped.
The Raiders got the ball at their own 15 and were driving on O-R/R’s first possession. Quarterback Will Matson pushed the Raiders across midfield, mostly on keepers, and on third-and-12 at the 26, threw over the middle.
But Bunker was there and leaped to make the interception. The turnover gave the Badgers the ball at their own 18.
A-LP quickly drove down the 80-yard field, keyed by a 20-yard run by Larsen, but the drive stalled inside the Raiders’ 10, and a third-down run turned into a fumble, recovered by O-R/R.
The Raiders had the ball, but with poor field position, back at their own five. Two passes fell incomplete, and A-LP forced a punt from the 11.
That gave the Badgers the ball back in great field position, at O-R/R’s 32. The quarter ended with A-LP at the 20, then the drive nearly stalled early in the second quarter with the Badgers facing a fourth-and-seven at the 17.
But Denison hit Wallace again on a crossing pattern, and the 6’5” senior took it in for the 17-yard touchdown. The two-point pass was stopped, and with 11:05 left in the half, A-LP was up 12-0.
The Raiders got the ball back at their own 18, but a third-down pass was intercepted by Denison and returned to the 10. The big quarterback ran it three times from there, scoring on a one-yard plunge to make it 18-0 with 8:17 left. Again, the two-point conversion failed.
O-R/R needed a big play to get back in the game, but the Raiders didn’t get it. Instead, a fumble at the 18 was recovered by Matthew Steffensen, and once again the Badgers had the short field.
It was Larsen’s turn again this time, cruising to his left, untouched, from the 17 on second down to score. That made it 24-0, still with 6:50 left in the half. The two-point conversion was stopped again.
The Raiders finally got something going again on their next possession, again behind Matson’s legs, driving from their own 15 to A-LP’s 30. But Matson was sacked on third-and-eight for an eight-yard loss, then a delay of game penalty pushed the Raiders back across midfield, forcing a fourth-and-21 punt.
The Badgers took over again with their worst field position of the quarter, at their own 33. But after Denison was sacked for a four-yard loss on first down, he went deep, hitting Carter Malone for a 51-yard touchdown pass with 2:06 left.
That made it 30-0 with 2:06 left. Not surprisingly, the two-point run was stopped.
The first half ended with a second interception by Bunker, followed by a kneel-down to run out the clock, with the Badgers up 30-0.
The third quarter opened with the Raiders pushing the ball over midfield, but two straight sacks forced another punt. A-LP got it back at their own 16, and after a one-yard run, Denison went deep again on second down, hitting Wallace at about the O-R/R 25.
Wallace was covered well; the ball appeared to be deflected, but he made the juggling catch, broke the tackle and took it in for a 63-yard touchdown. That made it 36-0 with 6:04 left in the third, and started the clock running.
(Just for consistency’s sake, the Badgers came up short on the two-point run.)
With A-LP reserves filtering in, the Raiders ran out the quarter with an eight-play drive that, after flags, actually went backwards, with a fourth-and-29 punt from the O-R/R five. But it was a very good punt, pushing A-LP back to its own 30.
With Britt Carlson now behind center, up against the O-R/R starters on defense, the reserve Badgers went backwards as well, punting from the 12. But A-LP held up well on defense, with Steffensen in the lead, picking off a pass over the middle and returning it to the Raiders’ 20.
The Badgers almost scored from there, getting a first-and-goal on a seven-yard-run by Caden Murphy, but the six-play drive came up short. Still, it ate up most of the remaining clock, and with just 45 seconds left, the O-R/R reserves had just two plays to the end.
Denison’s passing was the key to the night, with the 6’4” senior completing five of six for 176 yards and three touchdowns.
Wallace led the receivers with three catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns, with Malone catching one for a 51-yard touchdown, and Steffensen catching one for 11.
Larsen led the Badgers’ rushing game, with eight carries for 52 yards and two touchdowns. Denison carried 10 times for 36 yards and a touchdown. Bunker carried twice for 15.
The short field and excellent field position—as well as a quick Raiders’ defense—kept the numbers down on the ground, with the Badgers gaining 106 yards on 28 carries.
The Raiders gained 89 yards on 34 carries, but passed for just 22 yards, completing five of 12 with three interceptions. That left the Badgers with a 282-111 offensive edge.
A-LP 6 24 6 0 36
ORR 0 0 0 0 0
The Raiders dropped to 3-3, and travel to Chester Friday night.