Times Bulletin Staff

EDGERTON - EDGERTON - Teams who capitalize on opportunities usually will win games between two evenly matched teams.

Wayne Trace saw that stat come true again Friday night in Edgerton.

The Raiders benefited from five Bulldog turnovers, three key special teams mistakes and constantly won the field position battle the entire game.

However, it was Edgerton who held on at the end for a 33-32 victory despite making mistake after mistake.

The Raiders started only two possessions the entire evening inside their own 34 yard line and began drives five times on the Bulldogs' side of the field. Wayne Trace, though, only produced ten points on those five possessions which proved to be costly.

Trailing 26-16 entering the final quarter, the Raiders cut into the deficit at the 11:35 mark. Gage Critten capped a seven play drive with a one yard plunge for the score.

It was Edgerton who would answer. The Bulldogs used a nine-play drive, taking nearly five minutes off of the clock, to push the margin back to ten points. Ethan Schroeder scrambled into the end zone from seven yards out to put the Bulldogs on top 33-23 with 2:20 remaining.

Wayne Trace, though, was far from done. The Raiders responded with a ten-play, 65-yard drive that ended on a ten-yard touchdown pass from Derrick Baksa to Jordan Sherry. Jason Gordon's extra point kick split the uprights to get the red, white and blue within 33-30 at the 1:22 mark.

After the Raiders recovered the ensuing onside kick, it was Edgerton's turn to come up with a big play. Brandon McNalley picked off a Baksa pass in the end zone to give the Bulldogs possession at their own 20-yard line with 1:03 remaining.

The Raiders would get another chance, though. After Wayne Trace's defense held Edgerton to six yards in three plays, the Bulldog punting unit entered the field. The snap to Crowe was high and the Bulldog quarterback/punter knocked the ball out of the end zone for a safety that got Wayne Trace within 33-32 with 11 seconds on the clock.

Baksa returned the ensuing kick to the Bulldog 34-yard line, forcing Wayne Trace head coach Bill Speller to make a decision on trying the field goal or running a play.

Speller chose to run a play and it backfired. Baksa hooked up with Critten for a six-yard gain but time expired as Critten was tackled in bounds. With no timeouts remaining for Wayne Trace, Edgerton held on and moved to 4-0 on the season.

"Our kids deserved to win this game," noted Speller after the contest. "They battled all night long, fought through adversity and played their hearts out. This is a tough one to swallow."

Wayne Trace's defense got the Raiders on the scoreboard early in the contest. Raider defender Trevor Speiser ripped the ball from Edgerton quarterback Jeff Crowe for a 22-yard fumble recovery return for a score at the 10:13 mark of the opening stanza.

The Bulldogs would answer quickly. Edgerton put together a five play, 69-yard drive that was capped on a 28 yard scoring pass from Crowe to Brody Flegal. Jimmy Radabaugh's extra point kick gave Edgerton a 7-6 lead with 8:19 left in the quarter.

Edgerton then widened the margin to 14-6 after one quarter on a 73-yard interception return by Dakota Sheets.

After having allowed points in the first quarter for the first time this season, the Raiders responded in the second stanza.

A 17-yard touchdown run by Devon Horner and a 37-yard field goal from Jason Gordon gave Wayne Trace a 16-14 lead at the intermission.

"We dug ourselves a little hole in the first quarter but our guys responded," commented Speller. "These kids fought their way back and had a chance to win the game."

The Bulldogs dominated the third quarter, outscoring Wayne Trace 12-0 in the stanza to take the lead back. Ethan Schroeder rumbled 30 yards for Edgerton's first score before Crowe hooked up with Sheets on a 49-yard pass for another score. Sheets took the ball from two Raider defenders before finding the end zone as Edgerton grabbed a 26-16 lead entering the final stanza.

Wayne Trace finished the night with 296 yards of total offense, with Baksa completing 9 of 22 passes for 140 yards. Horner led the Raider ground game with 96 yards on 21 carries. Wayne Trace also had three turnovers in the contest.

Edgerton compiled 351 yards of offense, led by Crowe who completed 14 of 26 passes for 274 yards. Brody Flegal and Schroeder each had four receptions for the Bulldogs.

The Raiders, who fall to 3-1 overall and 0-1 in the Green Meadows Conference, return to action on Friday when they host undefeated Hicksville (4-0, 1-0 GMC).