WARREN, OH (WKBN)-Turnovers and special teams are the name of the game. And on Saturday night it was the Warren JFK Eagles special teams and defense forcing turnovers that propelled them to a 30-10 victory over the South Range Raiders at Mollenkopf Stadium.
“Turnovers, and I thought our defense really played well,” Eagles Coach Jeff Bayuk said. “We really struggled last year defensively and it has been something that we have been really harping and preaching to the kids.”
That defense only surrendered 191 total yards to the Raiders while forcing one fumble and three interceptions to pull away in the second half.
With the game tied at 3-3 at halftime, Eagles kicker Justin Bofenkamp booted a 33-yard field goal with 4:37 left in the third quarter to make it 6-3 I favor of the Eagles.
That is when the avalanche ascended upon the Raiders as they would fumble the ensuing kickoff setting up the Eagles at the Raiders 13-yard line. They would score three plays later on a Bobby Jefferson 1-yard plunge to make it 13-3 with 3:36 left in the quarter.
Then on the next play from scrimmage, South Range’s receiver would tip a pass thrown behind him perfectly for junior Evan Boyd to snare out of mid-air and race 30-yards for a touchdown. That score would make it 20-3 with 3:17 remaining.
The Eagles would add another field goal by Bofenkamp, this time a 35-yard boot following another Boyd interception. That score would make it 23-3 with 8:25 left in the game.
“Coach Bayuk does a good job and he has a great team. You can’t make mistakes against a team like that, we made some mistakes and some errors and then your playing catch-up,” Raiders Coach Dan Yeagley admitted.
“We still have inexperienced players,” Yeagley added. “We’re trying gain some experience and some playing time and trying to regroup. It’s coming. We just have to pull together.”
The Raiders would not quit as they responded with a 3-yard touchdown run by Ethan Dominguez with 6:32 remaining. That touchdown cut the deficit to 23-10.
But the Eagles would close out the scoring with a 3-yard run by Ross Nocera with only 2:52 left in he game.
“It’s hard to beat a program like South Range,” Bayuk said. “Because you’re not only beating the team, but your beating a program. A winning, storied program.”
Next week the Raiders host the Campbell Memorial Red Devils while JFK play at LaBrae.