By Joel van der Veen
DAVIDSON — If Thursday’s game set the tone for the months to follow, Davidson Raiders football fans can look forward to a highly exciting season.
The senior Raiders enjoyed a 70-66 win in an exhibition game over the Lutheran Collegiate Bible Institute (LCBI) Bisons of Outlook, delighting a hometown crowd at the Kinsmen Field.
After a tight first half that saw the lead shift back and forth several times, the Raiders held the lead for virtually the entire second half, though the Bisons were never far behind.
It was a captivating game, and coach Jason Low said he was proud of the team and pleased to be able to return the support shown by the community with a win at home.
He credited the win to a combined effort by the entire team, along with strong performances on both offence and defence and the support of an expanded coaching staff.
“We won today because we played as a team,” Low said Thursday night. “They’ve been working hard . . . I’m excited and I’m proud of the guys.”
LCBI has proved a strong competitor in past years, routinely defeating the Raiders, and Thursday’s success was a hard-earned reversal of fortune.
Low said the team is working to view each game as a potential victory within their grasp, explaining, “Our approach this season was that we wanted to beat everybody.”
Dawson George of Kenaston scored the Raiders’ opening touchdown and would go on to score four more by the game’s end.
Among the other offensive highlights were a breakaway run by Dylan Payne and back-to-back touchdowns by quarterback Andrew Read. Jacob Schilling also completed two touchdowns.
A major factor in the team’s win was its success in kicking field goals. The Raiders managed to earn conversions on five out of 10 touchdowns, adding a total of 20 points to their score.
Davidson held a slim lead at the midway point with a score of 34-32, and maintained that lead for most of the second half, though the score was briefly tied at 46 points each.
Low noted he was impressed with defensive backs Cole Murfitt and James Morrison, saying they provided good coverage and fine tackling.
He also had praise for Reegan Taylor, saying he played with “a lot of heart, and left it all on the field.”
The coach acknowledged that the team had picked up its share of penalties through the course of the game, chalking some of that up to opening night jitters.
“A lot of that’s normal but, I think, preventable,” he said. “A lot of it will come with experience.”
Low said the expanded coaching staff had proven immensely helpful, allowing individual coaches to focus on particular areas and bringing considerable expertise to the team.
He said it was a major factor in the team’s victory, along with the junior football program, in which many of the younger players have taken part.
“The more kids we get out playing junior ball, the more football sense they have,” he said. “They’re just stepping into sports that much easier.”
The victory over LCBI was only the second win for the senior team since Davidson School revived its football program in the fall of 2011.