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Raiders beat Holy Cross, 34-21.

POSTED October 08, 2010
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON- Brendan Lytton and Walter Lewis and the rest of the Torrington Raiders football team could get used to this home field advantage.

Before a boisterous crowd, announced at 702, the Raiders rode the broad shoulders of Lytton (255 yard rushing) and the tenacious defense by Lewis and company, to a 34-21 win over Holy Cross.

“Our fans are tremendous,” Lewis said, “We had a pep-rally this week in school and it was the best they had seen around here in a long time.”

Lytton, for his part, wanted to reward the home faithful and did so early and often, with some help from his friends.

“It all starts up front on the line,” Lytton said, “They were driving forward and I was following.”

The win is a huge one for the Raiders on a number of levels. First, it gives them a three game winning streak, something folks are having a hard time remembering happening around here in a good long time.

Second, it gets them even with the Crusaders in the Copper Division with one in division loss, and gives them a 3-1 record versus the Crusaders 2-2 overall mark.

This one could not have started stranger or more dynamic.

Torrington won the toss and chose to defer to the second half.

Senior Kairyn Boxton took the kickoff from Will Quarles and motored 85 yards, untouched for a 6-0 Cross lead before the fans sat down.

Not the way the Raiders coaches drew it up by any means, but what better way to respond than in kind, and that’s just what junior Jared Williams did when he got his hands on the ball.

From the exact same yard line, (the 15) Williams took off down the right sideline and 25 seconds into this one, it was 7-7 and you just had to shake your hedd at the scoring potential this one had.

In fact, after a three to four hour, first quarter (just seemed that way), the home team came away with a 21-14 lead.

Whew. On their next possession after the Torrington touchdwon, Holy Cross marched 72 yards in 15 plays, punctuated by a 2 yard run by Dave DiGiorgi.

The Crusaders six-plus minute drive was matched by the Raiders, just faster.

In just under three minutes, Lytton found the end zone on a four yard run that made the score 14-13 (the extra point was wide left).

On the drive, one thing was becoming increasingly evident; the Crusaders could not stop Lytton whenever the hard working back went to the left on a sweep.

After the hectic first 11 minutes in which 27 points were scored, the Torrington defense took a stand and forced the games first punt with :18 seconds to go in the quarter.

Proving you didn’t need much time to score Friday night, Lytton took a handoff and, you guessed it, went around the left side and down the sideline for a 65 yard touchdown.

There was a flag at the line of scrimmage though, and the entire Raiders coaching staff braced for a dreaded holding call but it ended up being a facemask call against the Crusaders.

The two teams went scoreless in the second quarter, a shocking development but the home team came out and struck first in the third quarter.

After the defense forced a three and out at the Crusaders own five yard line, Torrington got the ball back in great field position at the Cross 40.

Seven plays later, Lytton scored his third and final touchdown on a four yard run.

Proving these teams love to pour it in during the first and third quarters, the Crusaders struck fast and hard the next time they got the ball.

Down two scores, quarterback Zach Brown went to the air right away and found Boxton over the top for a 59-yard touchdown that brought it back to a one score game.

Lytton, who suffered from cramps during the third quarter, came back out a man possessed and started the Raiders last scoring drive with a 17 yard run on the sweep.

Williams punctuated his night with his second touchdown, this one from nine yards out.

From there, the Raiders defense kept Brown in check. Facing the pass on almost every play in the fourth quarter, the Torrington defense switched to man and kept Cross from finding the end zone again.

“We came out and played very well,” head coach Dan Dunaj said, “The players played with a lot of emotion and fed off the crowd.”

Lewis summed up how far the THS football crowds have come.

“We want all our sports to have the same crowds the boys basketball team gets each season,” Lewis said, “Everybody is cheering for everybody.”

Home field advantage. Check.

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