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WEST LIBERTY — Most of the week, the Williamsburg Raiders could feel the pressure building.
Whether the build-up of pressure caused a bank of field lights to pop off in the first quarter is to be determined, but the ninth-ranked Raiders powered through, downing the West Liberty Comets, 36-14.
“We started a little slow, but we got fired up,” Raiders running back Jason Wardenburg said. “When the lights went out, I got a little worried. They were passing and I was worried I was going to mess up.”
The Raiders kept West Liberty out of the end zone until late in the fourth quarter. Williamsburg’s size and depth contributed, as the majority of the Raiders offensive and defensive lines are listed near 250 pounds.
“I thought our guys adjusted well at halftime,” Williamsburg Coach Curt Ritchie said. “We used our depth to take control of the game.”
Wardenburg needed very few adjustments at the half. The senior racked up 124 yards on the ground in the first half. He finished with 194 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
“I just like lowering my shoulder and getting after them,” Wardenburg said. “But I like playing on both sides of the ball. I like getting big yards and setting the team up for a touchdown.”
The Raiders seized control of the game late in the third quarter. West Liberty lined up for a field goal from the Raider 20.
Williamsburg blocked the kick, and Ben Subbert returned it 80 yards to give the Raiders a 26-0 advantage.
“It was nice to get Subbert going a little,” Ritchie said. “He had a drop earlier in the game. He really showed his ability to scoop up the ball and run the distance.”
West Liberty got on the board late, with Noah Feldman adding a 24-yard touchdown reception from his brother Seth Feldman.
Noah finished the game with six receptions and 110 yards.