Delayed games seem to be a common theme lately as for the second week in a row, the Midway JV football team was in action on Monday night. The Raiders resumed conference play, hosting the Pender Patriots. After falling behind 16-0 early, Midway rallied to tie the game 28-28, before Pender was able to pull away late for the 42-28 victory.
Pender wasted no time setting the scoring in motion as the Patriots connected on a 67-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage. After converting the two-point conversion, Pender led 8-0 just 25 seconds into the game.
Pender quickly added to that lead following a Midway turnover on the kickoff. The Raiders were able to handle the ball on the kickoff and Pender was right back in business in Raider territory. With 10 minutes still on the clock in the first quarter, Pender was in for another score. The two-point try was successful and Pender was up 16-0 just two minutes into the game.
The Raiders didn’t panic as they settled down and strung together a nice drive. With 4:45 still left in the quarter Midway’s Cameron Barefoot capped off the drive with a QB sneak for the score. Donte Blue converted the two-point conversion and the Raiders were back within eight points.
Each team would then swap opportunities throughout the second quarter. Midway was able to force the Patriots into a punting situation but the Raider were unable to capitalize as they turned the ball over on their second fumble of the game. Pender was unable to cash in and Midway had another chance to make things interesting before the half. Unfortunately, the drive stalled at the Pender 13-yard line and the half would end with Pender still leading 16-8.
Midway received the opening kick to start the second half but for the second time in the game the Raiders were unable to handle the kick. As a result, Pender was the beneficiary of Midway’s third turnover to set themselves up with a shortened field.
The Patriots seized the moment, rumbling 41 yards on the first play for the rushing touchdown. The two-point try was no good but suddenly Pender’s lead was back to 22-8.
Midway answered. After taking over on their own 30, Blue was off to the races on a big run for the Raiders. After a personal foul against the Patriots, Midway was set up first and goal at the Pender 5-yard line. Ok the next play, Midway’s Jalen Moore was in the score. The two-point try was unsuccessful, but Midway was back to within 22-14.
On the ensuing Pender drive, the Patriots gambled on fourth down at midfield. The fourth down attempt failed and it appeared that Midway was set up with excellent field position, but the Raiders were flagged for a personal foul face mask, keeping the Patriots drive alive and moving them into Raiders territory.
Another Raiders personal foul penalty moved the Patriots to first-and-goal at the Raider 10-yard line where the Patriots connected on a 10-yard touchdown pass. Again the two-point try failed and Pender led 28-14 with 7:20 left in the third quarter.
Again, Midway responded. On the ensuing drive, Moore exploded down field for a 44-yard touchdown run. Cal Tyndall converted the two-point try and the Raiders were within 28-22 with 6:45 left still in the third quarter.
After forcing a Pender punt, Midway was driving deep into Patriots territory when the Raiders committed their fourth turnover of the game, throwing an interception at the goal line.
The Patriots were then able to move the ball to midfield on the drive, but the Raiders then pushed the Patriots back to force a Pender punt as the third quarter came to a close.
At the start of the fourth quarter, a combination of a short Pender punt and a personal foul call against the Patriots set Midway up at the Pender 20-yard line. On the next play, Blue escaped for the 20-yard touchdown run. The go-ahead two-point try failed but Midway had tied the game up, 28-28, with 10:55 left in the game.
Pender conjured up a response of their own, connecting on a 53-yard touchdown pass and two-point conversion to reclaim the 36-28 lead with 8:52 left.
Midway was unable to threaten again as a pair of Raider turnovers, including a late pick-six to push the Patriot lead to 42-28, were too much for the Raiders to overcome.
After the game, Midway head coach Austin Tart admitted that his team was their own worst enemy.
“We fought hard and was able to claw back into it, but we made too many mistakes and committed too many turnovers to get the win,” Tart said.
With the loss, Midway falls to 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the Four County Conference. The Raiders are back in action on Thursday, hosting Clinton. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.