By Regina Shiroma
They ended the regular season with four wins, no losses, and one tie. They allowed just 24 points all season, the least points allowed by any other team. And the Raiders ended their season in a dominating fashion after defeating the Saints 28-0 to claim the Metgot division championship.
“It feels great to be a champion,” said Raiders’ Brandon Salumbidas, who was a key performer in the win.
Salumbides scored two touchdowns and rushed for 159 yards on ten carries. Salumbides’ second touchdown came in the third quarter off an 85-yard run, leaving the defense behind him and the Raider Nation in a frenzy while extending the Raiders lead to 14-0. Xavier “The X-Man” Naputi ran in for the extra point, making the score 15-0 at the half.
“I was about to trip, but I regained my possession. I was hoping that I wouldn’t drop the ball because that would be embarrassing,” said Salumbides.
The Raiders returned from the break with the same intensity that they played with in the first half. They immediately converted three first downs that brought them to the Saints’ 3-yard line. But the Saints came up with the stop, not allowing the Raiders to get any closer to their end zone.
With the ball in the Saint’s possession, the Raiders were still hungry for another touchdown. The Raiders defense prevented the Saints from moving the chains, forcing a turnover on downs at the six-yard line and the Raiders offense went right back to work. At second and goal, Salumbides struck again, stomping past the goal line for a ten-yard touchdown.
Gabriel Aguon sealed the win for the Raiders, returning a 25-yard interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, causing the Raider fans to cheer even louder as they knew the game would be over in a matter of minutes.
Early in the first quarter, a halfback pass from Dylan Parke to Naputi put the Raiders up 6-0. Naputi also put up the two-point conversion after it just barely made it through the uprights when it bounced off the crossbar.
“They came out and really played hard. I think they played hard for me. Considering they’ve been with me for awhile,” said the Raiders’ head coach Ray Macias.
Coaching the Raiders’ Metgot division since the start of GNYFF, Macias has finally taken hold of the championship title. Though it comes at a price, Macias will be even stronger than the day before, fighting his ailment just as hard as his boys fought to win the championship.
“The last week of practice, when I mentioned it to them, they really felt me; they really came out and felt the love because I sacrificed my medical reasons to be here for this championship game. So with these boys, they came out and laid it on the line, like I sacrificed my life, so it was great. These guys did awesome,” stated Macias.
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