ROME – The Proctor Raiders had more at stake Friday night than just playing Rome Free Academy in the Great American Rivalry Series at RFA Stadium.
The rivalry, which dates back to 1891, has been full of hotly-contested battles.
That wasn’t the case Friday night as the visiting Raiders dominated from the opening whistle in scoring 26 first-quarter points in rolling to an impressive 64-12 victory that clinched a playoff berth in Class AA.
Tailback Tasean Cooper rumbled for 190 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Isaiah Warmack compiled 160 total yards and three scores (two rushing) as Proctor powered over its rival to improve to (2-2, 4-2) in Class AA-2 with one game left in the regular season.
“The line has actually blocked great the last two games,” Cooper said. “We worked very hard all week for this game. We had to win this game for the rivalry and to get into the playoffs. It actually feels good to make the playoffs because we are a younger team.”
Behind an impressive performance by its offensive line, the Raiders rolled up 622 yards of total offense, 525 of them coming on the ground. Tackles Evan Gohringer and Jose DeJesus, guards Daniel Santiago and Matt Arcuri, center James Campos and tight end Victor Lebron opened up huge holes for Cooper, Jabril Jarrett and company.
It became evident early that RFA’s defensive front was overmatched as Cooper followed a game-opening 12-yard run with a 46-yard touchdown run to give the Raiders a 6-0 lead just 39 seconds into the contest.
Wide receiver Saleh Eltayeb’s 15-yard jet sweep around left end made it 12-0 before Warmack scampered 47 yards down the left sideline to push Proctor’s lead to 18-0 before Jarrett’s conversion. On its next possession, Proctor proved it can be balanced as Warmack rolled left and hit Eltayeb on a corner route for a 24-yard score to make it 26-0 with 4:41 remaining in the opening quarter.
“When everybody works as a team our running backs run really hard and we’re tough,” Warmack said. “We worked really hard in practice all week and did what coaches told us and fought every play.”
The Raiders’ cause was also aided by six turnovers by the Black Knights, who had some promising drives cut short.
Early in the second quarter, Jarrett got in end zone on a seven-yard run and the conversion made it 34-0 with 9:21 left before halftime.
The Black Knights gave their fans something to cheer about right before halftime as quarterback Riley Brawdy floated a perfect strike down the right sideline to Isaha Garner for a 33-yard score.
However, the Raiders were just as dominant in the second half as Warmack, Cooper, Patrick Minor and Louis Robinson (80-yarder) all had touchdown runs. Amir Williams, who finished with 45 yards rushing to lead the Black Knights, scored RFA’s second touchdown of the game.
“We knew we were a little bit better than them up front and that’s the name of the game in football,” Proctor head coach Steve Strife said. “I’m very excited for the kids because they worked very hard in the offseason. It’s just nice to see all the hard work they put in come to fruition.”
Senior receiver Anthony Cudhea led the Black Knights (0-4, 0-6) with six catches for 69 yards. RFA hopes to get in the win column next Friday night at West Genesee. First-year head coach Jake DerCola, is looking to his team to get off to better starts and compete throughout.
“Things are there for us … it’s just we haven’t gotten over that hump in making those plays consistently,” RFA head coach Jake DerCola said. “They’re there to be made but … it’s tough because those are the plays you have to make to be successful.”
Jarrett had 62 yards rushing and 57 receiving for the Raiders, who also got 93 yards rushing from Robinson. The Raiders defense also had a big day, forcing six turnovers as linebacker Daniel Coleman had two interceptions and linebacker Quentin Reed was all over the field in disrupting passes and making big hits.
The Raiders will need another strong performance next week as they close the regular season at 1:30 Saturday at home against powerhouse Cicero-North Syracuse.
“They are very good,” Strife said of C-NS. “There is about five or six teams that are even and then there’s them. We’re going to compete and we’re going to play hard.. We’re not conceding the game. We’ll play hard, scheme it up and see what happens.”
Note: The Great American Rivalry Series is in its eighth weekend of games for 2018. This is the 15th season of the Great American Rivalry Series, which has covered over 700 games in 44 states. The RFA/Proctor rivalry dates back to 1891 with each team in their 125th seasons. … Proctor’s Malachi Bullock was chosen by Proctor’s coaching staff as the game’s MVP.
Proctor 64, RFA 12
Proctor 26 8 14 16—64
RFA 0 6 0 6—12
P: Tasean Cooper 46 run (conversion failed)
P: Saleh Eltayeb 15 run (run failed)
P: Isaiah Warmack 47 run (Jabril Jarrett run)
P: Eltayeb 24 pass from Warmack (run failed)
P: Jarrett 7 run (Kurshawn Feliciano pass from Cooper)
R: Isaha Garner 33 pass from Riley Brawdy (kick blocked)
P: Warmack 9 run (Jarrett run)
P: Cooper 12 run (pass failed)
P: Patrick Minor 2 run (Mike Reali run)
R: Amir Williams 4 run (pass failed)
P: Louis Robinson 80 run (Reali run)