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Raiders pound out road win over Bulldogs for first victory

By RON GREESON - For The Courier-Times

CENTERVILLE — After two tough losses to state-ranked foes, the Shenandoah High School football team traveled to the middle of Wayne County Friday night to face the unbeaten Centerville Bulldogs.

And the Raiders responded, moving ahead late in the second quarter and going on to a 20-6 victory over the host ‘Dogs at Marlin Craig Field.

Shenandoah improved to 1-2 with the road win, while the hosts fell to 2-1 on the season, although Centerville remains unbeaten at 2-0 in the Tri-Eastern Conference (TEC).

The hosts scored first to lead 6-0, but couldn’t score again.

Shenandoah received the opening kickoff and recorded two first downs before a fumble was recovered by Centerville at the Raider 42-yard line.

But as became the norm for most of the game, the Shenandoah defense stopped the Centerville offense, not allowing a first down and forcing a punt.

The punt was down at the Raider four-yard line, so the Shenandoah offense faced a long field in its second possession of the game.

Again, the Raiders ground out two first downs before Centerville stopped the drive. The Shenandoah punt put Centerville’s offense back at the Bulldog 32-yard line.

This time, the Bulldogs did move the ball a bit, getting two first downs before the end of a crisply and quickly played first quarter. The drive continued with three more first downs, and Centerville successfully concluded the drive with a three-yard run up the middle by Jamari Pamplin for the touchdown.

But the extra point attempt failed when a high snap from center resulted in a blocked extra point kick.

The Raiders came right back to get even, starting the next drive at the Shenandoah 32-yard line. Ten running plays later, Tanner Goff took the ball around right end on the option and ran 30 yards for the Raider touchdown.

The extra point kick was wide right, however, and the score remained tied at six with just over two minutes remaining in the first half.

Not satisfied with a tie at intermission, Centerville would go to the air on its next possession in trying to move back ahead before halftime.

On the second play on the ensuing drive, Centerville quarterback Ryan Dickenson attempted a long pass down the left side of the field, but under pressure, the aerial was underthrown and intercepted by Raider defensive back Cole Hughes, who sprinted about 70 yards to score the go-ahead touchdown.

After a conversion pass play for two points failed, the Raiders led 12-6 with still 1:33 to play before the halftime break.

Centerville again went to the passing game to try to score, and a scramble by Dickenson achieved one first down, and then a pass to Javontae Pamplin got another one, moving the ball into Raider territory.

But three incomplete passes, then a short fourth down pass failed to achieve a first down to keep the drive alive, and Goff took a knee on one final play to end the half with Shenandoah ahead 12-6.

Centerville began the second half receiving the kickoff, and after two kickoffs out of bounds pushed the Raider kickoff back to the team’s 30-yard line, Jon Jellison ran the kick back up the middle to the Raider 36-yard line.

But the Shenandoah defense rose up to thwart the great Bulldog scoring opportunity, stopping three running attempts from Jamari Pamplin, then breaking up a pass play to turn the ball over on downs.

The Raiders had no better luck on offense this time around, going three plays and out. A high snap over the outstretched hand of 6-5 Kameron Graddy in punt formation put the Shenandoah defense in a bad spot once again, as the hosts took possession at the Raider 17-yard line.

Improbably, Shenandoah came up with another big defensive play on the first play from scrimmage on this drive, another running attempt by Jamari Pamplin, who was stood up for a loss at the Raider 20-yard line, when the ball came loose and the Raiders came up with the fumble recovery.

With a second big defensive stop in the third quarter alone, Shenandoah really took command of the line of scrimmage - and the game altogether.

Three first downs later, the Raiders moved the ball into Centerville territory. Then came a big offensive play for Shenandoah.

After a holding penalty, and facing a third-and-21 situation back at the Raider 46-yard line, Goff lofted a pass down the right sideline into heavy traffic, and junior Blake Surface leapt above the crowd for a sparkling catch, a 36-yard play for a first down at the Bulldog 18-yard line.

Three Josh Farmer runs in a row gave the Raiders a first down at the Centerville four-yard line.

Then, on what was the final play of the third quarter, Farmer gained a yard in a rush up the middle, and the ball came loose as he hit the ground on a tackle. Centerville recovered, but the call of the officials was that Farmer was down before the fumble, so Shenandoah had a second down and goal at the Bulldog three-yard line as the teams began the fourth quarter.

An Illegal motion penalty moved the Raiders back five yards, and then Farmer got those five yards back on another carry. Farmer then was stopped for no gain on third down, setting up a fourth down and goal play.

Another big offensive play by Goff followed, as the junior signal caller threw a perfect slant pass to Graddy for a three-yard scoring play with 10:47 left on the fourth quarter clock. Goff then passed to Andrew Bennett for the two-point conversion, and the visitors built the lead to the final 20-6 winning margin.

Centerville’s next drive resulted in one first down, but then another fumble recovered by the Raiders ended this chance to score for the Bulldogs.

The Raiders had one first down, but then a penalty and the Centerville defense forced a punt. Graddy punted the ball 50 yards for a touchback, with little time remaining.

The hosts were forced to pass exclusively and the Raider defense put big-time pressure on Dickenson. Multiple sacks were mixed in with big passing plays for first downs, keeping the CHS hopes alive.

Facing a fourth down and 13 in Shenandoah territory, Dickenson hit Javontae Pamplin for nine yards, but it was short of the needed yardage, turning the ball over on downs to clinch the win for the Raiders.

Shenandoah then ran the ball for three times, running the clock down before another Graddy punt put the ball on one bounce in Centerville territory in the final minute of play.

When Jellison raced up to field the bounding football, he was drilled by Raider coverage, and the ball was recovered by Shenandoah at the Centerville 35-yard line with just seconds remaining.

A Goff kneel down ended a much-needed 20-6 victory, resulting in a smiling face for head coach Jordan McCaslin.

“This is absolutely a good win for our team,” McCaslin said. “I challenged our guys this week to bounce back after losing our first two games. This was a tough game that could have gone either way, Centerville is a good team, and coach (Kyle) Padgett and his staff do a great job, so this was a tough victory for our guys, and the kind of close game that we need to learn how to win.”

He spoke of Shenandoah’s football tradition.

“We got back to playing Shenandoah Raider football, the kind of grind-it-out, physical football that we have played for a lot of years,” McCaslin commented. “We made several really big plays, the Surface catch on the pass, and the Cole Hughes interception and return for a touchdown. While there are still a lot of things to fix, I think we have discovered a recipe for success this year.”

Unofficially, Farmer ground out 109 yards on 31 carries, and the Raiders controlled the ball and clock for much of the game, particularly in the second half.

It is another tough road challenge next week as Shenandoah goes to Lapel to play the Bulldogs. The Raiders don’t play at home until Sept. 27 versus Hagerstown.

Shenandoah 20, Centerville 6

SHENANDOAH 0 12 0 8 - 20

CENTERVILLE 0 6 0 0 - 6

Centerville - Jam. Pamplin 3-yard run (kick blocked)

Shenandoah - Goff 30-yard run (kick wide)

Shenandoah - Hughes 70-yard interception return (pass failed)

Shenandoah - Graddy 3-yard pass from Goff (Bennett pass from Goff)

S C

First downs 13 10

Rushes/yards 51-191 29-62

Yards passing 54 118

Passes 4-6-0 10-14-1

Punts 3 1

Fumbles lost 1 2

Penalties/yards 5-40 2-10

Individual Leaders

Rushing

Shenandoah: Farmer 31-109, Goff 8-47, Surface 5-34; Centerville: Jam. Pamplin 22-66.

Passing

Shenandoah: Goff 4-6-0, 54; Centerville: Dickenson 10-14-1, 118.

Receiving

Shenandoah: Farmer 2-15, Graddy 1-3, Surface 1-36; Centerville: Jellison 4-51, Jav. Pamplin 4-29, A. Snyder 1-30, Peed 1-8.

Records: Shenandoah 1-2, Centerville 2-1.