RAYMOND — Raymond used a steady rushing attack, stout defense, and timely big plays to edge state-ranked Naselle, 14-6, in a Pacific 2B League football game on Friday night.
“We knew it was a big game for us, as far as our goals in the league, and where we want to be,” Raymond head coach Rob Clements said. “We knew we would be in for a battle, and they gave us everything we could handle.”
Senior running back Marcus Lundy put the Gulls (4-0 in league, 5-2 overall) on the board first with a 95-yard touchdown run up the right sideline on their second play from scrimmage. Lundy led the Gulls with 117 yards rushing on seven carries.
It took Raymond until late in the fourth quarter to score again. However, it turned out that the extra point kicked by Andrew Hamilton after Lundy’s score was all the security Raymond would need.
The Comets found some offensive rhythm in the second quarter. After managing just one first down in their first three offensive series’, Naselle drove 90 yards in 13 plays. The drive was capped off by an 8-yard touchdown run by Dustin Eaton on a quarterback keeper. After the score, a fake point-after kick play was stuffed in the backfield to keep the lead.
“Eaton is one of the best players we will see all year, and they have great athletes on the edge. So, our whole goal was to take away the edge,” Clements said. “They made a nice adjustment, using the I-formation, and that gave us some problems. We were able to adjust to it and shut it down in the second half, for the most part. I felt like that was really the key to the game. We won the game on defense.”
Raymond held Naselle to 68 rushing yards in the second half after allowing the Comets to rush for 102 yards in the first half.
“James Hamilton did a great job,” said Clements. “He is a middle linebacker, but we used him as more of a defensive lineman, and he really helped shut down that option in the second half.”
Late in the fourth quarter, with the Gulls leading, 7-6, Naselle lined up to attempt a 33-yard field goal. Raymond senior linebacker Carte Bisbee slipped through the middle of the line and, despite falling over, managed to reach up and block the kick.
Darol Ratsavongsy scooped the ball up and returned it to the Naselle 45 yard line. Bisbee, who led the Gulls with 15 tackles in the game, was cited by Raymond head coach Rob Clements for his play on defense.
“You actually block more kicks up the middle than off the edge, especially in high school,” Clements added. “It was by design, but Carte executed it, timed it perfectly, kept fighting, and got his hand up. It was a heck of a play. That was the game for us.”
The Gulls won without completing a pass and attempted just two. Raymond utilized a deep and talented backfield to keep its ball carriers fresh. Five different Gulls players carried the ball at least four times, and only Ratsavongsy, who carried 14 times, rushed more than eight.
Naselle turned the ball over on downs deep in its own territory late in the fourth quarter. Ratsavongsy rushed three times for 12 yards and scored from 6 yards out with 47 seconds left in the game to clinch the victory.
The game’s only turnover occurred in the third quarter when the ball popped out of Naselle running back Sam Scrabeck’s hands. Raymond linebacker Pedro Villegas dove onto it. The turnover was especially important, because it stopped a Comets drive that had already ventured into Gulls territory and it squashed any offensive momentum that Naselle had gained.
Raymond will have the league bye next week, then will prepare for a pivotal home game against rival Willapa Valley on Oct. 25.