October, a month known for Halloween parties, cooler temperatures, and pumpkin spiced… everything, returning to coffee shops. However, in southeast Texas there was something else that returned-Friday Night Lights. Last Friday was the first night of the 2017 season that the Raiders played a district game under the lights of Raider Stadium, and with a tough opponent at that. The Vidor Pirates sailed into Raider country looking to bounce back from their loss to Nederland the previous week. While the Raiders had their eyes set on sending the Pirates back with the wind out of their sails.
Vidor’s first offensive possession was brought to a quick halt, as the Lumberton Raiders defense was able to shut them down. The Pirates would return the favor causing the Raiders to punt. Lumberton’s defense would look to build off of their success but the Pirates had other plans. On the first snap of the possession, the Pirates used their famed misdirection offense to put the first touchdown of the game. Lumberton would trail 7-0 for the majority of the first half. It wasn’t until a trick play would set up a forty yard rush by Kaleb Karr would time the game up at 7 a piece with a little of four minutes remaining in the first half. Going into the locker room at the half head coach Chris Babin applauded the defense saying, “I’m proud of my kids for holding them to seven points.” While being disappointed with the offensive production as they only scored one touchdown despite having promising drives.
The second half would begin just as the first half ended, a back and forth game with neither team able to break away. Vidor was first to strike in the second half to take a seven-point lead, but not for long. Senior Josh Ward would get to work charging through the defensive line, tying the game back up. Going into the fourth quarter it was either team’s game until the momentum would take a sharp turn. The Raiders were making progress downfield with back-to-back first downs before a fumbled pitch would be scooped up by the defense and returned for a touchdown.
After the score Vidor would kick, and recover the onside kick giving their offense the ball around midfield. The Pirates would again use their misdirection to find the end zone once again. Lumberton would trail 33-14 with 6:53 remaining in the game. Kaleb Karr and Josh Ward would lead the offensive production of the drive, and Ward finished it off by putting another six points on the board with 6:05 remaining in the game as the Raiders trailed 33-21. Trailing by twelve the Raiders had one last hope, an exciting onside kick attempt. Karr placed the kick perfectly with a high bounce into the air and over the heads of the recovering Pirate. The ball however would fall to the ground just out of reach of the Raiders trying to recover.
Lumberton’s offense wasn’t able to find their groove against Vidor’s stout defense, as they would keep the district’s leading rusher Josh Ward in check. Raiders fall to the Pirates 40-21. After the game Head Coach Chris Babin stated “During the First half we didn’t move the ball well at all, and the second half we did get better on offense. We should have taken advantage of some things, but just didn’t get it done.” The little execution mistakes are what seem to haunt the Raiders this season as they have had a win the last two games in their sights, but couldn’t close. “We’ve got to pick up the pieces and understand that this season is not over,” added Babin.
The Raiders will host the Jaguars of Central High School at Raider Stadium for the 2017 Homecoming Game this Friday night with kickoff slated for 7pm.