NORTH LIMA – Since the formation of the ITCL, the Lisbon Blue Devils have been unsuccessful in beating the South Range Raiders. On Friday night in North Lima, the Devils made a little history.
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The Devils scored a touchdown and field goal early, and then hung on for a hard-fought 10-7 victory. The win improves the Devils to 5-0 on the season while the Raiders drop to 3-2.
“I can’t even describe the feeling in words right now,” Devils receiver Jared White explained. “It’s like no other, I’m still in shock that we beat South Range. We have not beat them in years.”
“Huge.” Devils senior quarterback Josh Liberati exclaimed. “Biggest win we have had in our four years. We took a lot of bumps and bruises, this is the biggest one that we have had.”
PHOTOS | Lisbon 10, South Range 7
“That’s a big feather in our cap. It’s been so long for us to come here and win a game,” Devils Coach Jim Tsilimos remarked. “I think the last time we beat them was in ’95. Then we played them in ’99 in the playoffs and they beat us. Then we didn’t play them until the formation of this league. We had never been close.”
The Devils would turn the Raiders away on three consecutive drive to end the game as they clung to their slim three point lead 10-7 in the fourth quarter. The Raiders would have a field goal attempt hit the right upright with ten minutes remaining, and then they would have a fumble turn them away at the Devils 4-yard line with just 1:52 remaining in the game. They would get one last desperation attempt with just over a minute to play, but four incomplete passes from the Devils 30-yard sealed the game away for the Devils.
“I stripped it, and then I was crawling for it and then someone jumped on my back. It gave me an extra push and I some how got it. I don’t know how,” Devils linebacker Austin Rutecki explained on recovering the fumble. “It happened so fast it was crazy.”
“Things happen,” Raiders Coach Dan Yeagley said. “It’s part of the ball game, we’ve been in it a long time and there are things that happen and unfortunately it happened to us on the five yard line.”
The Devils built their 10-point lead by capitalizing on their first two possessions of the game. They marched 79-yards on their first drive, using 12-plays with junior tailback Jason Thompson scoring on a 17-yard run. That score came at the 3:41 mark of the first quarter.
They would add to their advantage on their next possession when they would mount another impressive drive of 12-plays that took them to the Raiders 2-yard line However, two penalties pushed the Devils back and forced them to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Justus Rosenbach with 3:57 remaining in the first half.
“We challenged the kids this week. They came out and both sides of the ball. Our lines came out and performed,” Tsilimos said.
The Raiders would make a gallant effort in the second half as they took their first possession of the third quarter and marched 73-yards on 8-plays with quarterback Seth Marrow connecting with receiver Greg Dunham on a 25-yard pass. That touchdown came with 5:27 remaining he third quarter, and set up the thrilling last minute action.
“Our kids hung together,” Tsilimos said proudly. “We were definitely being challenged. They did what they had to do.”
Lisbon will host Wellsville in the first league games next week while South Range will host Springfield