The Central football team hosted the Saints of St. James Area in the season opener Aug. 31, and ran the visitors off of the field in a dominating running performance.
“We felt good with our offensive line getting off of the line . . . and getting people moved over,” coach Gary Kosek said.
The Raiders offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage all game long, rushing for more than 50 yards each quarter and 290 yards overall. While the Saints were moved off of the ball, Tim Wolf and Holden Rickaby got a steady diet of handoffs in the backfield, helping the Raiders move the ball down the field with little resistance.
With the running game taking over, Central kept control of the clock. The Raiders scored on each of their first two possessions, which spanned two quarters. Cade Zellmann found Caleb Hormann on a 4 yard touchdown pass to start the scoring, then Zellmann ran in for a 5 yard score on the first play of the second quarter to put the Raiders up 14-0.
As the run game was unstoppable, the gameplan stayed the same when the Raiders hit the field for their third possession of the game. Central continued to run downhill with the same result, scoring on a 11 play drive that featured only one pass. Wolf, Rickaby and Zellmann chipped away at the defense with runs ranging from 1 yard to 19, ending in an 8 yard scamper from Wolf.
Central went in to the break with a 20-0, one they would not relinquish as a 10 yard rush by Wolf answered the lone score from St. James Area, with the Raiders going on to win 27-8.
While every new year brings a few surprises, a near-shutout from the Central defense wasn’t one of them. The Raiders defensive unit was a strong point last year and little changed this season.
“Our defense carried us last year, so we knew we’d be pretty sound,” Kosek said.
The Saints were limited to 31 yards of offense or less in all but one quarter. The passing game of St. James Area found a few good gains in the third quarter, but was held silent the rest of the game. In total, the Saints ran for 31 yards and passed for 156 yards.
For the first game of the season, the Raiders looked good, but there is always something to work on.
“We looked good,” Kosek said. “There is a lot to work on, but we were pleased with what we saw.”our defense carried us last year, so we knew we’d be pretty sound.”