Slugfest un­der the lights

Sabres cel­e­brate Mud Jug win over Raiders

The Delhi News-Record - - FRONT PAGE - JA­COB ROBIN­SON

With head coach Chris Har­vey shout­ing “it’s do or die”, his Sim­coe Sabres seized the mo­ment.

Be­hind three points in the fi­nal mo­ments, the Sabres not only blocked a punt deep in Delhi ter­ri­tory but scored in the last minute to top Delhi 28-24 in the 2018 Fri­day Night Lights foot­ball con­test at DDSS Oct. 5.

With a few hun­dred fans look­ing on, the two teams en­gaged in a slugfest with drama that ri­valled the game’s TV show of the same name.

“It was our first time win­ning Fri­day Night Lights so it was a big game,” said Sabre Nolan Rankin, the game’s MVP. “There’s a lot of Delhi fans out here and some­thing (Har­vey) wanted us to do was at the end of the game, he just wanted Sabres and crick­ets out here and we made that hap­pen.”

Rankin was spec­tac­u­lar on the night, scor­ing three times in­clud­ing a three-yard plunge on third and goal with less than a minute to go to give Sim­coe the lead for good.

The play was set up by the SCS spe­cial teams unit as Matt Light­heart blocked a DDSS punt with 1:48 to play, giv­ing the Sabres great field po­si­tion and a chance to im­prove to 2-1 on the year. It also meant the Sabres re­tained the Mud Jug – a vin­tage tro­phy that goes to the win­ner of the Delhi vs. Sim­coe ri­valry.

“It happened so quick,” said Light­heart. “I was run­ning, I saw (an op­por­tu­nity) and I just thought I would get my­self in front of it, then I saw my buddy Al (Forde) run in front of me, he got on the ball and that was the hap­pi­est mo­ment I’ve had in the past year since we won (the Mud Jug).”

Light­heart said he had no doubt the Sabres would con­vert, even when they were fac­ing a third and goal for all the Tos­ti­tos.

“No, we’ve been prac­tis­ing the whole time, I had noth­ing but faith,” he said. “We earned this, we re­ally did and it was a good job by ev­ery Sabre.”

The re­sult was yet an­other tough-luck loss for the Raiders, who are now 0-3. The con­test ac­tu­ally looked like a blowout when the vis­i­tors went ahead 14-0 in the first quar­ter, but two scores by speed­ster Ja­cob Schoo­ley and a Raiders field goal got Delhi right back in the game. DDSS re­gained the lead when Daunte Hen­riques took a hand­off and scam­pered 57-yards to the house in the fourth quar­ter.

With the crowd in a frenzy sens­ing their team’s first win, the Sabres man­aged to turn things around.

“It was a good ef­fort, we re­ally pulled to­gether in the first half and the se­cond half we were bat­tling ev­ery play,” said Jax­son Zurby, Delhi’s quar­ter­back and kicker. “It’s just un­for­tu­nate, the blocked punt – with un­for­tu­nate events you can’t do any­thing about them. We’ve just got to be pos­i­tive and come back next week and hope­fully

get a W.”

As the game wore on, Sim­coe’s size and se­nior ex­pe­ri­ence seemed to give them a slight edge over their younger com­peti­tors.

“They’re a se­nior team and have some big­ger guys, we’re ob­vi­ously a young team so that was a big dif­fer­ence,” Zurby said.

Now past the half­way point of the year, the Raiders will visit Valley Heights in Week 4 in a vir­tual must-win.

“We’ve just got to get our plays to per­fec­tion so we can be ready for the play­offs,” said Zurby. “Just get them down and hope­fully go to Valley and get a W. We just need to con­tinue prac­tis­ing rep­e­ti­tion and by then we should be good.”

Ryan Kelly also found the end zone for Sim­coe, catch­ing a 10-yard pass from quar­ter­back Staige Har­vey. Sim­coe will play its se­cond premier game in a row in Week 4 as they visit Water­ford in the Pump­kin Bowl on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

Ja­mal Bar­row, one of three Sim­coe backs, was in­jured af­ter a big run to set up Rankin’s gamewin­ning score. He was all smiles af­ter­ward though.

“The arm is a lit­tle sore,” he ad­mit­ted. “But we’ve got Nolan Rankin so it’s all good.”

In other Haldimand-Nor­folk Foot­ball League action, Water­ford im­proved to 3-0 with a 35-13 vic­tory over Holy Trin­ity (0-3) while McKin­non Park (3-0) erased a 20-9 se­cond-quar­ter deficit to de­feat Valley Heights 38-20. The Bears fall to 1-2 with the loss.

JA­COB ROBIN­SON/ DELHI NEWS-RECORD

Delhi quar­ter­back Jax­son Zurby looks for room against the Sabres de­fence dur­ing the Fri­day Night Lights game at Delhi District Sec­ondary School on Fri­day night.

JA­COB ROBIN­SON/ DELHI NEWS-RECORD

Sim­coe ball car­rier Ryan Kelly tries to shed the tackle of Delhi de­fender Jared Boodram dur­ing the Fri­day Night Lights game at Delhi District Sec­ondary School last Fri­day.

JA­COB ROBIN­SON/ DELHI NEWS-RECORD

Delhi Raiders Colin Ron­gits and Ja­cob Schoo­ley cel­e­brate a touch­down dur­ing the Mud Jug in Delhi on Fri­day, Oct.5.

JA­COB ROBIN­SON/ DELHI NEWS-RECORD

The Delhi Raiders cheer­lead­ers sur­round young­sters Elise Ver­meulen and Jas­mine Clark dur­ing the Fri­day Night Lights game at Delhi District Sec­ondary School on Fri­day.

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