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Yorkton Raider Gridders win under the lights

Next up for Yorkton is a road game in Estevan Friday, Sept. 16.

YORKTON - It was an evening where temperatures edged down to remind it is fall, but still a great night for the annual Friday Night Lights game for the Yorkton Regional High School Raider Gridders. 

The Weyburn Comprehensive School Eagles were the opponents, and the defending provincial champs proved pesky visitors. 

The Eagles took the lead with a long toss to an opponent receiver who ran for six. 

“It really was (a nice pass),” admitted Raider coach Roby Shape. “We could see it coming.” 

Sharpe said he felt they had the defence set well, but the pass found the receiver and it was basically open field to the end zone. 

But, a short plunge in the final minute of the opening half edged the host Gridders ahead 12-10. 

The late TD by Hayden Russell was huge, giving Yorkton a lead. 

Sharpe said Russell is a force out of the backfield. 

“He’s a tank. He’s like a man playing with kids. He’s such a big tough kid,” enthused his coach. 

Russell’s importance is likely to grow come the playoffs, when in Saskatchewan the temperatures drop, and passing the football becomes a greater challenge, reminded Sharpe. 

In that regard having a quarterback who can run is important as well. Chase Batke had 19 carries Friday rumbling for 234 yards and two TDs. 

The second half remained a defensive one, with only 14 points scored, but fortunately they were all by the Raider Gridders who would win the contest 26-10. 

“Our defence would bend but not break,” said Sharpe. “They were knocking on the door a couple of times.” 

After winning their first game against Moose Jaw Vanier Vikings 64-0, Yorkton needed a closer game.

“We definitely needed this,” said Sharpe. “We had to dig deep in this one.”

It was the Eagles that ousted Yorkton in the playoffs last season, so it was set up to be a key game.

“Obviously Weyburn is a good program,” said Sharpe 

Next up for Yorkton is a road game in Estevan Friday, Sept. 16.