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Turnovers keep Laurel in the game, but Eleanor Roosevelt pulls off win

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Photo by Daniel Kucin. Eleanor Roosevelt quarterback James Warren breaks a tackle. Warren rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown on Saturday.

Photo by Daniel Kucin. Eleanor Roosevelt quarterback James Warren breaks a tackle. Warren rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown on Saturday.

Published on: Thursday, October 11, 2012

By Daniel Kucin

Coming into Saturday’s divisional match-up against Laurel, the Eleanor Roosevelt Raiders defeated Parkdale convincingly and boasted a four-win record.

Roosevelt increased its win streak to three, finishing off the Spartans 27-8 in a sloppy and surprisingly close contest. The game started off with a bang when Roosevelt junior running back Jujuan Brown took the opening kickoff for a touchdown making the score 7-0.

On Laurel’s ensuing possession senior quarterback Jarvis McClam could not seem to get his offense to click against Roosevelt’s defensive effort. Laurel gave the reigns to the Raiders, and the Raiders made the best of the their field position running their option based ground game and started to do some damage. Roosevelt senior quarterback James Warren and sophomore running back Mike Mofor slowly but surely drove down to the Spartans’ goal line, and Elijah Liverette pushed the pile for a 1 yard touchdown.

That touchdown put the Raiders up 12-0, but they failed to convert their conversion. Liverette only had 16 carries all year up to this point and the depth of Roosevelt’s running back showed throughout the game.

Roosevelt shot themselves in foot on Carlos Rodriquez’s kickoff as it sailed out of bounds giving Laurel the ball on their own 40 yard line. 

On the very next play, McClam got flushed out of the pocket and threw a dart to senior wide receiver Markus Byrd for a long pass, and the Spartans eventually scored with a 2-point conversion, 12-8.

Just under eight minutes in the first quarter, Laurel attempted to go for it on a fourth down, and McClam converted it with a fake punt pass to move the chains. However, the Spartans’ drive stalled and they were forced to punt on a promising drive — pinning the Raiders on their own 10 yard line.

The Spartans just could not seem to run an effective and balanced offense with the Raiders stout defense nipping at their heels. In turn, this led to a hard-hitting game and left McClam on his back for the most part.

Roosevelt junior linebacker Jerome Lyles forced and recovered a fumble for 75 yards for a touchdown in a back-breaking play at 8:54 in the second quarter — putting the Raiders ahead, 20-8.

At around the sixth minute of the second quarter, McClam was brought down hard on a fourth down, and the Raiders were hit with a 15-yard roughing-the-punter penalty — keeping the Spartans drive alive. After a costly false start penalty and a botched center and quarterback fumble exchange, the Spartans forfeited another chance to score.

Turnovers and fumbles were the story of this game. Each team managed to keep this contest fairly close because of simple errors.

Warren led his team to victory, but he turned the ball over with an interception and fumbled the football six times and losing four in the process.

“That has been our Achilles heel all year, and we have tried several things and taking kids out of the line-up … we have tried everything, so I don’t know,” said Roosevelt head coach Thomas Green. “The only thing we need to do to be effective as a team is hold on to the football.”

Late in the third quarter, Warren led a drive set up by a 19-yard rushing play inside the Spartans’ 20-yard line. He then scored on a quarterback keeper to put this game away, 27-8.

Laurel put out a valiant effort despite the final score but left Greenbelt with their fifth loss of the season. The Raiders will have their hands full this week on the road against divisional rival Flowers in their homecoming match Saturday.

Green was frustrated with his team’s effort after the win and sees signs for improvement looking forward.

“Right now we are still in the hunt and we are in the final month…. The difference for us is it’s all about turnovers. We are not the same team when we turn the ball over … we are an average team and to be honest they were in the game until the fourth quarter because of turnovers,” he said.

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