A Tale of Two Halves: Pine Raiders Triumph in Round 1 of State Playoffs
Published 3:55 pm Monday, November 13, 2023
By Brett Spears
During the first round of the state playoffs, the Pine Raiders faced off against the Red River Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs dominated the first half, establishing a 16-0 lead by halftime. However, the Raiders were far from ready to throw in the towel. Determined to turn the tide, they received the second half’s opening kickoff and quickly put points on the board with a rushing touchdown by James Owens—the Raiders’ defense showcased strength, holding the Bulldogs on their first possession of the second half. A crucial turnover on downs followed, providing the Raiders with a golden opportunity. Seizing the moment, Luke Spears connected with James Owens for a touchdown pass. The momentum continued to swing in the Raiders’ favor as Christian Williams returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown. After another defensive stop by the Raiders, Von Johnson contributed to the scoreboard with a rushing touchdown. Then, in the 4th quarter, Aiden McIntosh sealed the deal for the Raiders, scoring the final touchdown and securing a comeback victory with a 38-16 score. James Owens emerged as a standout player, amassing an impressive 97 rushing yards, 97 receiving yards and making a crucial interception on the defensive end.
Defensively, the Raiders were led by Ethan Ryals with 14 tackles, complemented by Ethan Rester and DJ Garrett, who contributed 13 tackles each. Christian Williams added seven tackles to the defensive effort. The Pine Raiders move on to round 2 to face Avoyelles.