LOUISVILLE, Ohio (WYTV) – The South Range Raiders are running out of re-matches. Friday night the Raiders disposed of the Akron Manchester Panthers 34-14 in a region quarterfinal, one week after knocking off the Crestview Rebels. The Raiders beat both the Panthers and Rebels during the regular season.
The win boosts the Raiders record to 12-0 on the season as they will play for a Region 17 championship next Friday at a site to be determined. They will play the Black River Pirates after they won 44-6 over Wickliffe.
“I’m very proud of how they fought. You beat a very good team like Akron Manchester that is so well coached, and so well disciplined, and to beat them twice in one season is just unheard of,” Raiders coach Dan Yeagley remarked.
“It helped a lot,” Raiders running back Peyton Remish said playing Manchester earlier in the year. “We knew what was coming, we knew how good they were. We thought they might change stuff up a little, but nothing major.”
The Raiders struck first on Remish’s 2-yard TD run.
The game had the look of being an offensive shootout as the Raiders quickly scored on their first possession with a 2-yard plunge by running back Peyton Remish. That score came at the 8:03 mark of the opening stanza.
The Panthers answered right back on the ensuing kickoff when A.J. Johnson picked up the squib kick, broke a tackle and raced down the right sideline 65-yards to knot the game at 7-7. That score came only 10-seconds after the Raiders touchdown.
“That was a lot of frustration,” Raiders quarterback Aniello Buzzacco admitted. “It’s hard to stand on the sidelines and see your special teams get turned on. But knowing our leadership we knew we could bounce back and do what we had to do.”
South Range regained the lead on Buzzacco’s 55-yard TD run.
The Raiders showed they were unphased as they went right back to work as Buzzacco ran around right end 55-yards to put them back up by 7, leading 14-7 with 7:00 left in the quarter. Buzzacco would tally 216 yards running the ball on the night.
“Yeah extremely, they were really keying on Remish,” Buzzacco explained why he had running success early in the contest. “It really helped to open up my running game. My line blocked everyone and opened up the holes for me. With everyone following Remish it made it easy to make some nice runs.”
“We had to control the offensive and defensive lines,” Yeagley explained. “That was our goal, that is what we thought we could have improved on (from the first meeting). Hats off to those guys.”
The Raiders would rush for 367 yards on the night thanks to the offensive linemen. Those linemen include Matt Brooks, Brian Robinson, Jordan Lowery, Christian Maust, Tyler Dolak along with tight ends Ryan Davenport and Jacob Gehring.
Then the Raiders defense made a big stand late in the first quarter as the Panthers would drive to the Raiders 8-yard line before the defense forced a negative running play and a sack of Panthers quarterback Jojo France on fourth down at the Raiders 12.
The Raiders used the momentum of that defensive stop to go on a 78-yard, 13-play drive with Buzzacco connecting with Brennan Toy on a 15-yard touchdown pass to bolster the Raiders lead to 21-7. That score came with 8:32 remaining in the second quarter. The score was set up by an Odell Beckham like catch by Gehring as he made a one-handed snag of a pass for a 32-yard gain down to the Panthers 8-yard line.
But the Panthers would not be intimidated as they scored before halftime on an 18-yard pass from France to standout running back Ethan Wright. That would make it 21-14 going into the halftime intermission.
The Raiders made a statement starting the second half as they methodically marched down the field on a 75-yard drive, using 9-plays as Remish finished the drive with a 3-yard blast up the middle. That gave the Raiders a 28-14 lead with 7:38 left in the third quarter.
The Raiders used predominantly a running game and kept the Panthers bottled deep in their own territory in the second half helping to shorten the game. But after the Raiders Alec Ballentine picked off an errant France pass with 5:42 left in the contest, the Raiders chocked out any hope the Panthers had when they scored on a 66-yard run by Remish with 4:45 remaining in the game. That scored provided the final points on the night.
“It felt really good,” Remish said of scoring the last touchdown. “Our offensive line did a great job all night. We said we had to win the battle in the trenches and that’s exactly what we did.”
South Range vs. Akron Manchester
South Range vs. Akron Manchester x
SOUTH RANGE 14-7-7-6=34
SR – Peyton Remish 2 run (Levi Taylor Kick)
MA – AJ Johnson 65 kickoff return (Adriana Miracle Kick)
SR – Aniello Buzzacco 55 run (Taylor Kick)
SR – Brendan Toy 15 pass from Buzzacco (Taylor Kick)
MA – Ethan Wright 18 pass from Jojo France (Miracle Kick)
SR – Remish 3 run (Taylor Kick)
SR – Remish 66 run (Pass Failed)
Read more: Week twelve high school football stories
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