Lions’ Raymer does it all in ranked showdown
Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 1:00 pm
By MIKE HUTCHENS
It was joked afterward that Devan Raymer “did everything but sell popcorn” in Dresden’s 28-14 victory over Union City Friday night.
If he had have handled those concession duties, it likely would’ve been perfectly salted with just the right amount of butter.
Raymer rushed for 212 yards and three touchdowns and threw a 58-yard scoring pass to Logan Thomas for the Lions’ other score to help Dresden remain unbeaten (6-0) and win the battle of state-ranked teams.
The multi-talented Raymer was also a key factor defensively, snagging an interception that essentially sealed the outcome late and also delivering the jarring hit that knocked Union City star fullback Keylon Hyde from the game with a concussion on the Tornadoes’ second series.
“Relentless,” answered first-year Lion head coach Keith Hodge when asked of a different adjective that’s not been used to describe the play of his 5-8, 160-pound dynamo who has now rushed for 976 yards and 15 TDs this season. “He wants the ball when the game’s on the line, and he does a great job with our reads. He’s just a gamer.”
Dresden — ranked No. 2 in the Class 2A Associated Press poll — used almost the identical scheme that Huntingdon had employed against eighth-ranked UC in a similar two-touchdown victory over the Tornadoes two weeks ago.
And Raymer played nearly exactly the part of Huntingdon quarterback Jacob Warbritton in the Lions’ single-wing offense that looks a lot like the Mustangs’ attack.
Warbritton had rushed for 207 yards and accounted for all four TDs in Huntingdon’s victory over Union City.
“We’d seen some things they struggled against in the Huntingdon game and we were able to take advantage of that,” Hodge confirmed. “We thought we could throw it a little against them, too, and even though we only did twice, I thought the touchdown pass Raymer threw to Logan (Thomas) there to open the second half was huge.”
The Lion offensive line regularly either opened small creases on the inside or sealed the edge for Raymer to pile up his big yardage total.
And though Dresden outgained UC by a wide margin (356-193), Hodge acknowledged the matchup could’ve played out much differently if not for the injury to Hyde.
“No doubt, he’s the key to their offense and he really gashed us in those first few carries before he went out,” the Dresden skipper admitted. “Obviously, you hate to see anybody get hurt, and we hope the best for him. It was certainly a blow for them.
“Still, that’s probably the fastest team we’ll see all season. We would’ve made a defensive adjustment against their fullback game if Hyde would’ve stayed in there, and I thought we did a real good job except for a couple of times on the perimeter.”
The Lion defense negated the Tornadoes’ decided speed advantage on the flanks and forced three turnovers with Austin Daniel recovering a pair of fumbles in addition to Raymer’s pick, the most critical of those turnovers coming early in the fourth quarter when Union City was seemingly driving for a tying score before QB Travis Rutland was blasted on a 4th-and-1 sneak at the Dresden 11.
Raymer’s first touchdown — a five-yard run — late in the first period put the Lions on the board first, but that lead was short-lived as UC’s Khiry Lewis jetted 91 yards to paydirt on the ensuing kickoff for a 7-all deadlock.
Joey Caldwell’s 34-yard run highlighted a seven-play, 73-yard drive that ended with Raymer’s one-yard touchdown plunge and gave Dresden the lead for good midway through the second quarter.
The Ramer-to-Thomas hookup just 48 seconds into the second half put the Lions up by two scores.
Union City, which alternated backup Ricky Henry and starting lineman Kane Taylor in Hyde’s spot, pieced together its best offensive series to halve that difference halfway through the third stanza.
Lewis darted around left end and to paydirt from 17 yards out to cap a 12-snap, 58-yard TD sequence and make it 21-14.
Raymer’s final score was a nifty 24-yard run with 4:32 to play in which he seemingly weaved his way through and around every member of the UC defensive unit.
Hodge said the overall solid performance by his troops was the result of a solid week of practice after the Lions struggled with turnovers and intensity in an unimpressive 17-7 win over Bruceton the week before.
“No doubt, it was 100 percent easier to get their attention last week in practice because of the way we played against Bruceton,” the coach concluded. “And I thought we got better last week in practice. That showed tonight.”
Another ranked Class 1A team — and more importantly District 13A foe — West Carroll is next up for Dresden this Friday at Rotary Field.
Published in The WCP 9.25.12
Lions’ Raymer does it all in ranked showdown