BAXTER — Collins-Maxwell/Baxter’s Raiders opened their 2013 football season at home Friday against Gilbert High’s Tigers.
The Raiders return plenty of players who remember a bitter 34-32 loss at Gilbert last season, and with the Tigers now coming to their house, revenge had to be on their minds. CMB was unable to keep pace with the Tigers, however, and they must now wait until at least the Class 2A playoffs before getting another crack at redemption.
Rushing the ball did not come easily for the Raiders, whose offensive production leans on zone reads and deceptive handoffs. The Tigers’ ability to stifle the ground game turned CMB into a more conventional opponent, and allowed Gilbert to seize control.
CMB’s loss was a disappointing one for the returning Raiders, but they did boast some impressivie individual performances.
Senior quarterback Zach Samson, who led the Raiders in both rushing and passing last season, put on a solid showing as the head of the offense. Samson went 16-for-27 throwing the ball, with 240 yards passing, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Samson also carried the ball 11 times for 78 yards.
Samson’s spread the ball around fairly evenly amongst his receivers. Seniors Zach Huffaker and Austin Moorman each had four catches. Moorman caught a touchdown pass, while Huffaker led the Raiders with 67 yards receiving. Junior Bryce Kemp caught three passes for 62 yards and two of the four Samson touchdowns. Sophomore Brady Stover caught three balls for 21 yards and a touchdown. Finally, sophomore Hunter Granderson caught two passes for 43 yards.
Defensively, the Raiders were led by junior Clayton Weltha’s 15 total tackles. That was followed by Kemp’s 10 tackles and Logan Cory’s nine. Nick Littell and Charles Robertson each had eight tackles. Moorman’s six solo tackles led the team. The only Raider to record a sack was Littell.
CMB will get the opportunity to bring its record up to .500 when the Raiders head to Roland-Story on Friday, Sept. 6. R-S suffered a discouraging defeat at the hands of South Hamilton on Friday, Aug. 30. The Norsemen were unable to generate or sustain any offensive momentum against the Hawks, losing 22-0.
The Norseman offense relies almost solely on the ground game. R-S failed to complete a pass against the Hawks, and although they were able to defeat the Raiders last season, the first game suggests the Raiders should be able avenge that loss from last year. The Hawks ran the ball very effectively on the Norsemen, suggesting CMB should have similar success if it can keep R-S out of the end zone.