His team survived two defensive touchdowns by Mansfield, and didn’t secure the win until the final seconds.
So veteran Huntington coach Stephen Dennis wasn’t quite sure how to feel in the wake of the Raiders’ 36-28 slugfest over Mansfield Friday night at Independence Stadium. Until he took a moment to reflect.
Kaleb Tucker had two touchdown catches, the last one on fourth down with 13 seconds to play, and Huntington nervously hoping to preserve a 29-28 edge.
“We were just looking to get the first down and run out the clock, and ended up scoring. We threw a slant, he shook the guy and scored his second one.”
Huntington’s featured receiver/running back, Jamarion Washington, certainly lived up to his billing, also snatching two TD passes.
New Raiders’ quarterback Lorenzo White showed resiliency and production.
“In spite of two turnovers, he had four touchdown passes. For all the things that we feel like as coaches that we have to go coach up, there’s still a lot to be proud of,” said Dennis.
Senior inside linebacker Covey Beaird was Huntington’s defensive standout, while the Raiders’ big guys up front made up for breakdowns on the back end.
“I thought our D-line played really well. A lot of their points came through the air and we have to clean up some things back there, but our D-line controlled the line of scrimmage tonight,” said Dennis.
While he was generally pleased with his Raiders, he was also impressed with the Wolverines.
“Coach (Darrell) Barbay’s done a tremendous job in a year (after taking over),” said Dennis. “That team played incredibly hard, very disciplined, and was a much, much-improved Mansfield football team.”
The Raiders will go to work today addressing the issues that hampered their ability to secure the outcome earlier than the final seconds, he said.
“We’ve got a lot to clean up. We turned it over too much, and they scored off two of them, defensive touchdowns. We have a lot of new starters. We’re going to have growing pains, but to work through that as a 1-0 team, nobody’s going to frown about that.”