“(I have) mixed feelings really. I feel like we’re better than we played tonight. Obviously you have to give credit to Hug. They did some things that took us out of some stuff. We didn’t play a very clean game (offensively) because of how hard Hug was playing.”
The Raider defense however, put together one of its strongest performances of the season. Reed forced seven three-and-outs and did not allow a second-half first down until the four-minute mark in the fourth quarter when Dekembe Montgomery went 92 yards for the Hawks' lone score of the night.
“That’s an excellent effort on our defense's part,” Howren said.
After losing three fumbles in last week’s win against McQueen, the Raiders turned the ball over four times against Hug. Two of which, came early in the second quarter when the Raiders’ lead was 14-0.
Earlier in the week, Howren said the turnovers against McQueen were hardly addressed outside of film the following morning. That will not be the case this week.
“Apparently now we need to go back and work on it,” Howren said. “That’s two weeks in a row we’re losing the turnover the battle. That’s something we definitely need to work on.”
Hug was within reach at the half, 20-0, but took a defeating blow on its third drive of the game. Running back Titus Tau, one of the fastest players in the North, limped off the field after breaking a 48-yard run. He did not return. Tau is Hug’s biggest offensive threat and torched Spanish Springs for 264 yards and four touchdowns on 27 touches last week.
On its first two drives of the second half, Reed marched 58 yards and 66 yards, each on five-play drives, to push the lead to 34-0. Without Tau, and the way the Raider defense was playing, the lead might as well been twice that.
“We came out in that third quarter and I thought we moved the ball really well offensively,” said Howren. “We did exactly what we wanted to do early on.”
Chris Denn completed 11-of-20 pass attempts for 151 yards and two touchdowns. He also picked up 56 yards on seven carries and a touchdown.
Trae Wells continued to be one of the most dangerous deep threats in the HDL, grabbing four passes for 77 yards and both of Denn’s touchdown tosses.
The two-headed running back monster of Jordan de Leon -- 14 carries for 109 yards and one touchdown -- and Jorden Carter -- 15 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown -- continued to cause problems for opposing defensive coordinators.
The Raiders fans who stuck around once the game got out of hand, got a brief preview of next season as junior backup quarterback Jackson Gilmore took all the fourth-quarter snaps. He threw a 9-yard touchdown to Alex Hernandez on his second snap of the game.
On the next drive, the Raiders went for it on fourth-and-19. Gilmore ran around the left side and juked a Hug defender on his way to a 30-yard touchdown run but the score was negated because of a holding call.
Gilmore completed 3-of-4 pass attempts for 24 yards and the score. He also picked up 46 rushing yards on three carries.
“Jackson’s a good freakin’ quarterback. He’s going to be a dude,” Howren said. “He just happens to have another dude in front of him (Denn). It’s a great spot to be in let’s put it that way.”
The Raiders will look to remain undefeated Friday at North Valleys.