Raiders beat Apple Valley 28-13 | Newsletter

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In what started out as a drizzling affair, the Hastings Raiders football team (1-1) picked up their first road win of the season by beating the Apple Valley Eagles (0-2).

The Raiders took care of business by making plays in all three phases of the game. The Raiders’ defensive and special teams units combined to force four turnovers, highlighted by a pivotal interception return for a touchdown.

After failing to get much on the field against Chanhassen in Week 1, junior running back Payton Burrow and the Raiders racked up 150 rushing yards against the Eagles. Burrow was a workhorse for the Raiders, carrying the ball 23 times for 122 yards and a touchdown.

However, it took a while for Burrow and the Raiders’ offense to take off. The light rain, which stopped at half-time, certainly played a role in this game by bogging down attacks and contributing to both teams’ early errors.

The Eagles first fell victim to the slippery conditions when they missed the opening kickoff, fumbling the ball towards the Raiders on their own 1-yard line. A game later, senior quarterback Daniel Millner dove into a QB sneak, and the Raiders took a 7-0 lead.

The Eagles’ next possession faded in midfield, but just when it looked like the Raiders had taken control of the game early on, it slipped past them. On the first play of their ensuing practice, the Raiders spat the ball out on a mishandled rally, and the Eagles made them pay with a 26-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.

A quick three-and-out from the Raiders put the Eagles back on the offense, and they struck through the air again when sophomore quarterback Jackson Thornburg dialed in another 26-yard touchdown pass. The Eagles would miss their extra run attempt, making it a 13-7 game.

Another miss three games later, and the Raiders were back on defense and desperate for a game-changing game. Junior cornerback Blake Vandehoef delivered when he intercepted Thornburg’s third pass and took it 50 yards for the score.

The Raiders missed their extra point attempt, keeping the game tied at 13-13, but Vandehoef’s play brought the momentum back in favor of the Raiders, and they didn’t let it go the rest of the way. The Raiders’ offense, especially Burrow, finally started to find some rhythm, and they eventually veered on a field goal before halftime to regain the 16-13 lead.

The second half was all Raiders. Their defense threw a shutout, and Millner and company found the end zone twice more, one coming from a 13-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Johnny Bezdicek, the other from a run Burrow’s 2-yard touchdown.

Missed extra points and a failed two-point conversion left points on the board for the Raiders, but those mistakes ended up being inconsequential in what ultimately turned out to be a comfortable 28-13 win.

Back on the road, the Raiders will be back in action when they take on Simley (2-0) on Sept. 17 at 2 p.m.

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