Although Shawnee Mission South showed off a variety of scoring options in the first half, the Raiders struggled to find a rhythm in the second half.
But the early outpouring of offense, led by senior Ra’Keim Abdul, proved to be enough for the Raiders in a 28-21 victory over Shawnee Mission Northwest on Friday night.
Despite Abdul’s and his teammates’ efforts, the Cougars got a final chance with :22 remaining after stopping the Raiders, but the SM South defense did just enough to pull out the win.
“At the end of the game we didn’t felt good, because we played sloppy, but it’s a win,” Abdul said.
The Raiders started off quickly when Abdul returned a fumble 27 yards for a touchdown with 11:03 remaining in the first quarter, giving them a 7-0 lead.
“We came in and established the running game like we wanted to and our guys blocked hard,” SM South coach Ryan Longergan said. “I think we got a little content, and you can’t do that in the Sunflower League.”
Having a consistent rushing attack throughout the game played an important part for the Raiders.
That led Abdul to quickly make his input felt on offense. He capped a 7-play drive for the Raiders with a 7-yard run that gave them a 14-0 lead
“I’m one of the leaders of the team,” Abdul said. “Whatever the team needs I’ll help provide.”
However, with 6:01 remaining in the first quarter, the Cougars, 0-3, responded to the Raiders’ early lead with a 94-yard kickoff return by senior Jake Horner that made it 14-7.
Shawnee Mission South, 2-1, did not take much time getting another touchdown from Abdul. On the Raiders’ next drive, Abdul scored from 6 yards out and increased the lead back to two scores.
“He runs the ball hard and plays hard on defense,” Lonergan said. “He’s a tremendous athlete.”
Abdul finished with 17 carries for 110 yards and three touchdowns. Senior Jawann Stennis added 12 carries and 77 yards for the Raiders.
After that the Cougars put together their best offensive drive of the night. It ended with Horner, the quarterback, running it in from 19 yards. With a successful two-point conversion the score was 21-15.
But Shawnee Mission South did not have a problem scoring on its next drive. Senior quarterback Chase Allen scored with on a 1-yard sneak, making it 28-15.
The second half was a battle of two defenses, with the only score coming on a 10-yard run by Horner with 1:32 remaining.
The Raiders did enough to win Friday night, but they are hoping for a better full-game effort in next week’s game against Olathe South.
“Our team just needs to toughen up,” Abdul said. “We came out in the second half waiting for something bad to happen. We just need to step it up.”