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Football Spartans Cannot Keep Raptors Extinct

Posted on: October 27, 2021
THS vs AHS

Two years may have passed between Turpin/Anderson football clashes, but the electric intensity of this township rivalry certainly remained buzzing and fully charged. And even a persistent light shower blanketing Spartan Stadium failed to prevent half of A-Town from populating the track in a standing-room-only crowd to witness the inaugural edition of Spartans vs. Raptors. A new game sponsorship from Cane’s, complete with fresh color rush unis, also ratcheted up the aura of this crosstown quarrel. 

All week, much chatter touted the Anderson offense as the Greatest Show on Turf. The Raptors’ 5-wide attack slings around the pigskin, scores quickly, and leaves stadium scoreboards resembling slot machines. Coupling that attack with the Spartan offensive machine meant good news for the After-Prom kitty, as The Ben Kimble Foundation pledged $200 deposits following each game touchdown. Surprisingly though, the offenses could only muster three total touchdowns with defense and special teams making up the difference, as Anderson held off your Turpin Spartans, 21-14.

Nobody expected a scoreless first quarter, and an early interception by Drew Covington revealed the Spartan coaches nailed their defensive game plan. Then after a Turpin drive stalled in the Raptor red zone, Ryan McDole perfectly jumped a route in full stride and snagged a coveted Pick 6 to provide an early 6-0 Spartan lead. Anderson quickly quieted Spartan Nation though with an immediate 96-yard kickoff return touchdown and 7-6 checkmate. A late second quarter drive by Anderson extended their lead to 14-6 before both teams headed to their halftime adjustment sessions. 

After another amazing performance by the combined Forest Hills band, both defenses continued to dominate a scoreless 3rd quarter. Another couple stalled drives in the 4th quarter plagued both teams before Reed Rosebraugh perfectly placed a punt inside Anderson’s 5-yard line. Momentum seemed to slowly tip towards the Spartan sideline, but the Raptors strung together a methodical, 95-yard drive to push their lead out to two scores with 6:05 left in the game. Your Spartans never surrender, and they quickly marched 80 yards and capped off the drive with a Schulok-to-McDole touchdown pass. QB1 Will Schulok then sacrificed his body among the giants to convert a much needed, two-point conversion, and an Anderson special team miscue landed the ball on their own 5-yard line with 2:50 left. Turpin’s defense eventually got the stop, but an incredible Raptor punt rested just short of the goal line with only 1 minute remaining and no Turpin timeouts. Spartan fans obviously started recalling the miracle drive from 2019, but the Anderson defense secured the game at midfield and escaped the Battle of Forest Hills with the seven-point win. The Spartan defense was led in tackles by Ben Cushman (7), Trey Carpenter (6), Charlie Hammelrath (6), Luke Jilek (5), and Reed Rosebraugh (5), and kudos to the entire Spartan defense for holding Anderson to their lowest point and yards totals for any game this season.

 

McCullough’s 2 Minute Drill:

What were your positive takeaways this week?

Coach McCullough: “As Vince Lombardi famously said, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." That is how I feel about the game on Friday. We did not play well enough to win the game and that is disappointing. In the past three weeks, we have played playoff-caliber teams and they have made fewer mistakes and more plays than us. We have to fix this now or the 2021 season is over.

 

How excited are you and the coaches to get another shot at Winton Woods? 

Coach McCullough: "We are definitely excited about the opportunity to play them again and the opportunity of a playoff game under the lights for the boys. Nothing beats playoff football! The last time we played Winton Woods, it was 21-19 at the end of the 3rd quarter and then mistakes in the kicking game broke the game open for them. If we clean up the mistakes in the kicking game, which we definitely will, I feel really good about our chances. The boys need to trust the game plan and play their very best for as long as we need to.

 

What are the most important keys for a deep Spartan playoff run? 

Coach McCullough: “I have always believed that to have a successful year, you need to stay healthy and be lucky. For the most part, we are healthy, but luck has not been on our side. Hopefully, the football gods help us because the boys have worked really hard this year. There will be a lot of familiarity between us and your playoff opponents. After we beat Winton Woods, Kings should be next. Your success throughout this year comes when we play fast, aggressive, mistake-free football. We need to play Spartan football throughout the playoffs and the outcomes will take care of themselves.

The potential playoff path could serve as a football movie script, as the opportunity exists for your Turpin Spartans to avenge their recent losses and end the seasons of Winton Woods, Kings, and Anderson in three consecutive playoff games. Swagger and confidence define this cohort of Spartans, and one conquest at a time will remain their collective laser focus. Attacking playoff games with no pressure and opponents donning huge targets on their backs is definitely a great spot to be.

A familiar army of Warriors awaits this Friday at Charlie Fredrick Stadium, so pack your (warm) battle armor and lubricate your stadium chair hinges. Spartan Nation, it’s one-and-done season! This week’s colossal playoff showdown at Winton Woods kickoffs at the normal 7pm, so leave work early to successfully navigate the I-275 rush hour loop. 

Huge and special thanks to The Ben Kimble Foundation for their generous donation to After-Prom. Ben’s spirit will always radiate bright among the Spartan football Brotherhood and across the entire Anderson Township community.

 

Nothing works unless the linemen do and Go Spartans!