NEVADA — It happens all the time. Two teams are locked in a close game until one big play happens, and everything snowballs.
That’s exactly what happened for the Collins-Maxwell/Baxter Raiders in their 49-20 drubbing of Nevada’s Cubs on Friday night. The Raiders were ahead 21-7 following two strikes down the field from quarterback Zach Samson, — one to Austin Moorman and a touchdown pass to Bryce Kemp — but the Cubs were driving on the back of a strong running game and had the ball deep into Raider territory. That’s when the game was broken wide open.
“The way our offense was really moving, we were feeling pretty good already, but that was really a turning point in the game,” CMB coach Rob Luther said of Kemp’s play. “They were moving the ball, and all of a sudden Bryce is running the other way for us. Momentum changes, attitudes change. It was really an emotional booster for us.”
After a 16-yard rush off of the left tackle by junior running back Chase Dobson, which put Nevada on the six-yard line, the Cubs put the football on the ground. Wasting no time in seizing the opportunity, Kemp scooped up the rock and slipped out of a tackle by quarterback Brandon Burke before outrunning everybody and returning it 94 yards to the house to put the Raiders up 28-7.
Following a missed field goal attempt on the Cubs’ next possession, Samson had three bruising runs up the middle of the field to move the ball to the 14-yard line. One more quarterback draw put the Raiders in the end zone and ahead 35-7 going into the half.
Things didn’t brighten up much in the second half for the Cubs. Despite celebrating the school’s homecoming court with some big performances by it band, the only team showing up big on the field was CMB. The Raiders drove the football down the field yet again, and senior running back Gabe Schabillion capped off a quick drive with an 11-yard touchdown run to put the Raiders up 42-7.
CMB would add one more touchdown, and the team was able to play some of its sophomores down the stretch, which should give them some good game experience as District play rolls on.
The win for the Raiders was their second of the season following a heartbreaking loss in Maxwell to Prairie City-Monroe the week prior. CMB came out with a purpose and dominated from start to finish.
One of the keys for CMB was the return of left guard Corey Morris, according to Luther, solidifying the offensive live for the Raiders.
“Zach really ran hard, and our offensive line played really well. Now that our left side has two 300-pounders over there, it makes it easier to push people around,” Luther said. “We had single coverage most of the night, and Austin and Bryce just went up and got the football.
Kemp had three touchdown in all on the day. Besides the fumble return for a 94-yard score, he had four receptions for 91 yards and two touchdowns, the longest of which was a 38-yard score early in the second quarter.
Samson was efficient with essentially everything he did on Friday. He was 11-for-14 throwing the football for 182 yards and two touchdowns, both to Kemp. Samson also rushed 13 times for 134 yards, and he recorded four tackles on defense. He recovered a fumble for the Raiders, as well.
Schabillion had nine carried for 49 yards on the ground. He also recorded five tackles on the other side of the ball. Charles Robertson carried it four times for 16 yards. Moorman caught four passes for 73 yards. Brad Ritter had a six-yard touchdown catch, his lone reception on the day. Nate Bishop threw one pass, and it was the six-yard TD to Ritter.
Clayton Weltha led the Raiders with 10 total tackles. Not far behind was Austin O’Connor with nine. Jordan Cougenhour had seven tackles. Moorman and Hunter Gunderson each had six. Brady Stover, Patrick Girard and Logan Cory had four apiece. Jake Hennick and Chance Titus each had three. Junior kicker Joe Nissen perfect on extra points, hitting all of seven attempts.
This Friday, the Raiders return home to Baxter to host Interstate 35 in an intra-district matchup. CMB looks good for its first home win of the season, facing a winless I-35 squad.