TUSCALOOSA — The Marion County High School Red Raiders traveled to Tuscaloosa to take on the Holy Spirit Catholic School Saints on Friday night, Sept. 15, and won 30-20.
The Raiders scored right out of the gate when Tye Madison ran the opening kickoff all the way to the Saints’ end zone. The Raiders added an extra two points to take a very early 8-0 lead.
The Saints also scored early. After the kickoff, they were able to keep the chains moving and entered Raider territory. With 5:41 left in the first quarter, the Saints scored on a rushing play.
The Raiders stopped the Saints’ two-point attempt to hold on to an 8-6 lead.
After getting the ball back, the Raiders gained five yards on first down, and Quarterback Joe Aldridge scrambled on second down for enough yards to move the chains.
From the Saints’ 36, Samuel Taylor rushed for eight yards, then got the first down on the next play.
An offsides penalty on the Saints put the Raiders at first and five, and Aldridge was able to scramble for the first down again after a faking to Taylor.
The Raiders advanced to the Saints’ 10-yard line. Omarion Smith got extremely close to the goal line but was stopped just shy of a touchdown.
On fourth down, Aldridge kept the ball and was able to run for another Raider touchdown. Taylor earned two more points for Marion County to put them ahead 16-6 as the first quarter ended.
The Raiders and the Saints each had a possession end in a punt at the beginning of the second quarter.
With a few minutes remaining before the half, the Raiders had the ball once again. With just over a minute left before halftime, Aldridge threw a pass to Smith, who caught it and ran it into the end zone. Aldridge ran in two more points, and the Raiders entered halftime leading 24-6.
The second half opened with the Saints running back the kickoff for a touchdown, but were stopped from earning any extra points, keeping the score to 24-12 in the Raiders’ favor.
The Raiders only had the ball briefly after the kickoff, as a fumble put control back in the Saints’ hands.
The Saints closed in on the goal line and scored on a quarterback sneak with 8:54 left in the third quarter. This time, the Saints added two more points to the touchdown, narrowing the gap to 24-20.
Despite the cold rain that fell throughout the game, things started to get heated with a brief scuffle on the field after the kickoff return, which resulted in a penalty for the Saints.
That Raider possession would come to an end with an intercepted pass.
The Saints couldn’t get through the Raider defense, though, and punted on fourth down.
It was a short punt, and the Raiders took over first and 10 on the Saints’ 31-yard line. But that possession was also cut short by a fumble which the Saints recovered.
The Raiders’ defense held the Saints until fourth down, and the Saints opted to punt. The Raiders made good gains as the third quarter ended, and Taylor smashed his way into the end zone for six more points to give the Raiders more breathing room at 30-20.
The Raiders weren’t able to score another touchdown, but neither were the Saints. The Raiders came close in the final seconds but opted to take a knee to end what turned into a heated game.
This Friday, the Raiders will travel to Berry to take on the Wildcats at 7 p.m.
See complete story in the Journal Record.