HARD TACKLE The Raiders’ Eli Klassen takes down Celtics ballcarrier Dustin Voth. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO
The Holy Rosary High School Raiders’ first task is to stop taking untimely penalties.
Bonus second chances and free yardage helped the St. Joseph High School Celtics football team to a 15-7 exhibition win against Holy Rosary at the Raider Bowl on Saturday.
A short-yardage penalty off a Raider punt late in the first quarter led to the Celtics notching the winning points early in the second, before a series of misdeeds helped St. Joe’s to an insurance score midway through the frame.
“I don’t think there were any stupid penalties,” said Raiders defensive coordinator Craig Paylor.
“But, we took too many and penalties cost us in a lot of facets of the game. It extended their drives. It deterred some of our drives. And that’s something that needs to be corrected.”
After the Celtics jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead off a safety early in the first quarter, the Raiders battled back to go up 7-2 by the 10-minute mark on a 30-yard pass by quarterback Dante Tabacu to receiver Brady Rogers at the corner of the end zone, which was followed by a Dom Caco convert.
Celtics receiver Kayden Eidse hauled in a short pass 3:46 into the second quarter to give the away side an 8-7 lead before quarterback Kaden Kurylo showed off his kicking skills by splitting the uprights for the extra point.
A Raiders penalty and a quarterback sack stalled their following drive, giving the Celtics the ball at midfield.
Two more Raiders penalties and a few short runs then brought the Celtics to the red zone, where Kurylo connected with receiver Silas Yelenik in the far corner of the end zone for a 15-7 lead.
“We saw some holes in the defence we could take advantage of,” said Yelenik.
“When we see a chance we take it, and I think that’s it. We executed very well in the second quarter.”
Kurylo said they mixed in some play action and straight drop-back passes to keep the Raiders defence guessing, but whenever pressure did break in a scramble, play seemed to keep the ball moving.
“We played a really good front, but congrats to Holy Rosary,” said Yelenik.
“Crazy D line and crazy linebackers, but we’ve just got to improve on some of our packages and some of our blocking schemes.”
The Raiders defence opened the second half by stuffing the Celtics run within their own 10 yard line, before the offence earned a few opportunities to erase the lead.
However, a dropped ball in the end zone coupled by strong work from the Celtics secondary and offensive line pressure kept the comeback attempt at bay.
Brock Rogers, wide receiver and cornerback for the Raiders, said they have a lot of new faces on the team this year, but they all seem to be clicking right off the bat.
He said their first exhibition game of the season did show a bit of work is needed at getting everybody lined up in their right position, and knowing what has to be done.
“Execution is key,” said Paylor, noting the Raiders will play two more exhibition games before opening the regular season at home against the Lloydminster Comprehensive High School Barons on Sept. 15.
“We have to just go into practice and get more crisp on offence, more crisp on defence and just execute.”