Raiders lose QB Ford to injury, fall on the road at Russell County

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RUSSELL SPRINGS — It just wasn’t Warren East’s night. 

The Raiders put up a fight, gave themselves multiple chances and drastically improved their play from last week’s 40-0 season-opening loss to South Warren but couldn’t find a way to get over the hump. 

Facing an offensive-powered Russell County team which can score at ease, the Lakers found their rhythm early, built a quick lead and never looked back in a 49-12 win over the visiting Raiders at Finley Field. 

“This was our first road game of the season — and we didn’t handle it real well,” Warren East coach Jeff Griffith said. “I thought our trip over was fine, but they were ready to play and we were kind of on our heels — I felt like — the entire game.”

Warren East (0-2) trailed 28-12 at halftime and looked to bounce back after the break, but starting quarterback Nolan Ford suffered a shoulder injury early into the third quarter and he was never able to return as sophomore Isaiah Ghee took over at the position. 

“There’s a lot of question marks,” Griffith said. “Hopefully it’s not going to be anything too serious. I’m sure he’s going to be out for a couple of weeks with the situation. It’s not his throwing shoulder, so that’s a good thing. We’ll find out more tomorrow and know more on Monday, but I’d say he’s done for a couple of weeks, anyway.”

The Raiders will try for their first win of the season next Friday as they host Edmonson County at Jim Ross Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. 

Russell County struck first, taking advantage of a Warren East punting error and needing just two plays to score on a six-yard TD run by Dylan Bland — which gave the Lakers a 7-0 lead at the 6:39 mark of the first quarter.

The Lakers doubled their lead just over two minutes later as Gavin Gossage threw a six-yard TD pass to CJ Vonfumetti to cap a five-play, 45-yard drive and made it 14-0 at the 4:02 mark. 

Warren East answered with Ford’s 59-yard TD toss to Dee Gilbert to cut its deficit to 14-6 with 3:00 left in the period, but Russell County used a 17-yard TD connection between Gossage and Glendan Skaggs to put the Lakers up 21-6 after one. 

The Raiders’ second score of the night came courtesy of their defense, as Trey Colson intercepted Gossage and returned it 25 yards to the Russell County 30-yard line. Following Colson’s big play, the Raiders needed just one play to score on a TD pass from Ford to Tray Price, which made it 21-12 at the 7:53 mark. 

Russell County increased its advantage with just under two minutes remaining in the first half with Gossage’s five-yard pass to Vonfumetti. The scoring play put the Lakers up 28-12, and they took that same lead into the locker room at the break. 

Following Ford’s injury and the Raiders turning it over on downs, Gossage kept it himself and ran in from 19 yards out to extend Russell County’s lead to 35-12 at the 5:38 mark of the third quarter. 

Gossage and Vonfumetti again connected — this time on a 27-yard TD — to put the Lakers up 42-12 and seal it early into the fourth quarter. 

“We’ve got a lot of stuff to clean up,” Griffith said. “The disappointing thing for me is that there’s times I think we’re starting to come around as a football team and then we’ll have breakdown after breakdown — and those are the things we’ve got to correct.”

WEHS —   6   6  0  0   —  12

RCHS —   21  7  7  14  —  49

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