October 12, 2021 By Kevin Riordan
It was the kind of game that tests a players physical endurance and heart while providing fans with a thriller on a Sunday afternoon. The 8th grade Raiders defense faced the most punishing rushing attack this season and proved they are one tough team. The Raynham Giants opened the game with off tackle runs for first downs. Linemen Andrew Sullivan, Matt Griffin and Cavan Nicholas made key tackles and LB Chase Beighley sacked the QB for a 7 yard loss to force a punt. Hingham began moving the chains with first down runs from Drew St Pierre and Chase Beighley. But evenly matched Raynham held their ground and forced a Raider punt.
Safety Deacon Evriviades was in true form preventing the deep threat as he broke up a pass on one play and then on the next intercepted a Raynham pass at the 20 yard line, slashing his way up field for a 25 yard return. QB Jake Varholak threw a completion to Teddy Anderson then quick slant pass to Chase Beighley who made the most of the yards after catch for a 32 yard gain. Recognizing a mismatch QB Varholak threw another slant pass to Evriviades who ran around the blocks created by Andrew Sullivan, Leopold Kuehberger and Cam McKenna to hit the outside edge for a touchdown and the 6-0 lead. The Raiders defense dug in with tackles from Jack Germain, Ian Smith and Mac Corey to stop the Giants on downs and take the 6-0 lead into halftime.
Liam Rogers took the second half kickoff to midfield where the Raiders began to move the ball on the ground but their drive stalled and were forced to punt. Varholak dropped back to punt but it was blocked by a diving Raynham player who recovered the ball inside the 10 yard line for a first and goal. With their backs against the wall the defensive front dug in with critical tackles from Charlie Shape, Cavan Nicholas, Cam McKenna, Wyatt Averett and Varholak preventing Raynham from scoring which forced a turnover on downs at the 2 yard line. Locking horns, the aggressive Giants defense stuffed Hingham’s run game and forced them to punt from the back of their own end zone. Once again Raynham penetrated the line and tipped the punt which they recovered at the 1 yard line. The Raiders determined defense upfront from Griffin, Corey, St Pierre, Germain, Beighley and Melendes filled the gaps and stopped Raynham for no gain on the first 3 plays. But on 4th down the Giants managed to punch it over the goal line for the TD. They converted on the 2 point conversion to take the lead 8-6 in the 3rd quarter.
The high-octane third quarter continued as Drew St Pierre received the ensuing kickoff, patiently waited for his blocks from Jackson Kennedy, Mark Donlan and Ned Buckley to develop, and then darted left to break multiple tackles for a 66 yard TD to answer Raynham’s score and steal all the momentum in just one play to take a 12-8 Raider lead.
Thriving on the momentum in the 4th quarter the defense shut down the bruising running game with Matt Griffin, Jack Daley, Charlie Shape and Sullivan smothering the ball carriers to force a turnover on downs. QB Varholak wasted no time by hitting Chase Beighley for a 29 yard pass gain, followed by a 12 yard run from Ian Smith which led to Varholak sweeping around the end for a touchdown to give the Raiders an 18-8 that sealed the hard fought win to remain unbeaten.