The Rider Raiders looked impressive in the first game of the season Thursday night against Abilene Cooper when they traveled to Shotwell Stadium and outscored the home team 21-7. That means they won, right? Everybody seems to think so except the Abilene coach Todd Moebes who claims nobody won that game because it was stopped with 4:13 remaining in the fourth quarter because of lightning, according to an article in the Wichita Falls Times Record News today, Saturday, August 30. Rider coach Marc Bindel says it's a victory.
Wichita Falls High School won a dramatic game against Mansfield Summit which is not in dispute. The Coyotes overcame a 15-0 halftime deficit to win the game 25-18 against a very good Summit team. Danny Russell's Pack showed last year's deep run into the playoffs was no fluke Refusing to give up after facing adversity in the first half, WFHS charged back to within one point when O.J. Clark sprinted 26 yards for a touchdown late in the game.
Tristen Pence then gave the Coyotes the lead by drilling a 21-yard field goal with only eight minutes left in the game. The Jaguars retook the lead 18-17 when Robert Rodriquez kicked the ball through the uprights with only a little over five minutes remaining.
The never-say-die Coyotes came back with perhaps the clutch play of the game as Mikal Penn connected with Garron Nash on a 24-yard pass play on fourth down. Robert Williams scored the winning touchdown moments later as the Coyotes marched to a 1-0 record.
The Hirschi Huskies also looked outstanding in a 40-28 victory against Bowie at Memorial Stadium Friday night. Cedric Battles received a lot of ink for his 304 yards rushing and four touchdowns. The exciting running back showed off his skills by making touchdown runs of 86, 64, 49 and 14 yards. New coach Danny Youngs couldn't have asked for a better performance from his explosive offense in his debut as the Hirschi mentor.
The Huskies move to a 1-0 record.
But the Rider outcome appears less certain because of comments by the University Scholastic League which are disconcerting to say the least. Cooper coach Moebes is claiming UIL athletic director Mark Cousins is taking the position the Rider victory should be "no contest." Another UIL official said the two coaches have to agree, according to an article from Scripps Newspapers published in the Wichita Falls Times Record News today.
What does that mean? The coaches have to agree on the outcome? Every football game I've ever watched was won by the team with the most points on the scoreboard. Rider's record stands at 1-0 in this writer's opinion. It will be a shame if the official records don't reflect that. If Abilene wants to play the last four minutes and thirteen minutes of the game then maybe the coaches should agree to line up and finish it when there's no lightning. If the Abilene coach won't agree to do that, then Rider deserves the "W".
Other big Rider football news is that former Raider quarterback J.T. Barrett is starting for Ohio State today against Navy. Barrett was rated as one of the best high school quarterbacks in the country when he was recruited by the Buckeyes. He was red-shirted by coach Urban Meyer last year. When starter Braxton Miller went down recently Barrett was elevated to the starting position for the No. 5 rated team in the nation.
Rider fans may have been disappointed to tune in to CBS this morning to watch Barrett lead Ohio State. Instead, CBS chose to televise the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, thus pre-empting the football game. However, even without CBS coverage, Barrett led the Buckeyes to a 34-17 win. The former Raider connected on an 80-yard touchdown pass play to vault the Buckeyes into the lead against the Naval Academy.
Barrett's ability to move around in the pocket was impressive and helped him escape the pass rush of the Midshipmen. That mobility will be a necessity this season in the Big 10 as Barrett is playing behind an inexperienced offensive line.
With the Raiders and Coyotes both looking sharp in 2014 the 50th anniversary game between the two in October should be a great showdown. It could very well determine the district championship.
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