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By LARRY SULLIVAN, JR.
The Raiders charged onto the field last week ready to end the regular season with a win over the Bearcats of Walton-Verona.
And that is exactly what they did in front of a hometown crowd on Trimble County’s senior night.
The Trimble County High School Raiders went out with a bang Friday night to close the regular season with a 4-6 record.
Due to the possibility of rain, the Raiders changed up their offensive strategy early in the game, switching from A-11 to get down and dirty in the wishbone formation. The battle between the two young squads had the ball traded back and forth often in the first quarter before ending the period with both teams scoreless.
The beginning of the second quarter picked up where the first quarter had left off, with the ball again changing hands a bit. The Raiders, however, were finally able to punch the pigskin into the end-zone off some big runs from Aunner Posas, Michael Edens and Larry Sullivan, Jr. Sullivan then put the ball in from one yard out, to complete the two-point conversion and give the Raiders a 8-0 lead.
But before long, the Bearcats answered with a touchdown off the kickoff, returning the ball 92 yards. This was the first such play allowed by Trimble this season and ultimately sent the teams to the lockerroom at halftime with the score tied.
On the opening drive of the second half, Trimble County’s defense was ready and stopped the Walton-Verona on a 3 and out. Taking over on offense for their first drive of the half, the Raiders pounded the ball down the Bearcats’ throats.
Sullivan put in a second touchdown from five yards out, putting 8 more on the board after the team’s second successful conversion attempt. The Raider defense took the field to complete some awesome plays and took control of the ball again on a Brody Newby interception that was caught six yards from the Bearcats end-zone.
After a nice 30-yard return, the Raiders had an opportunity to put the game away, but couldn’t connect. After three tries, Trimble punted the ball back to the Walton team. Several big plays later, Walton took the ball into the endzone to tie the game at 16 at the end of the third.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the teams again traded the ball repeatedly with both defenses working hard. With a little less than half of the quarter still to play on a fourth and 6, the Raiders were a short 15 yards from a touchdown and possibly the win.
It was Trimble’s Sullivan who again took possession of the ball, taking it to the endzone for the 22-16 Raider lead.
After another turnover on downs, the hometown boys continued to run the ball. Eventually, Sullivan broke open a 60-yard run that could of sealed the victory for Trimble, but was called back on a holding penalty. Moments later, Walton took possession of the ball.
With 2 minutes to go in the game, the Bearcats had 45 yards to work with but the Raiders were determined not to allow another score. On a third down, Sullivan forced the fumble near the sideline and little brother Alvin Seals fell on it to end Walton’s chances of getting the win.
Sullivan finished the game with 24 rushes; 171 yards and 3 touchdowns. Seals was credited with 13 tackles and a fumble recovery and Trevor Smith racked up 11 tackles, to give him 92 for the year.
“Normally a game like this would not go in our favor, but we fought through it and I’m proud of our boys.” coach Jesse Bray said after the game.
The Raiders will travel to top-ranked Beechwood in the opening round of the playoffs next Friday, Nov. 14. The winner of that game will advance to play either Eminence or Ludlow in the second round of tournament action.
Senior football players Trevor Smith, Larry Sullivan Jr., Jordan Hunt, Aunner Posas and Bill Crawford were honored before the start of Friday’s game, with other senior fall sports participants recognized at halftime.