It was a beautiful homecoming night on the beach at Carey Stadium in Ocean City as the Red Raiders hosted the Oakcrest Falcons in a Cape-Atlantic League National contest. But Oakcrest (4-3, 2-2) used three big plays to pull away from Ocean City, dropping the Red Raiders to 0-3 in the National Conderence and just 1-6 on the 2011 campaign.
After a slow and sloppy first quarter, in which the Red Raiders fumbled a punt, giving Oakcrest the ball at the Ocean City 37-yard line, the Red Raider defense got a much needed stop. However the offense stalled and was unable to grab the momentum.
Oakcrest was on the move again, taking the ball down to the Ocean City goal-line with 10-minutes and 28 seconds left in the half, but it was the Ocean City defense that stepped up to the challenge again, stopping 6-2, 212 pound running back, Brandon Bell at for no gain.
With their offense backed up at their own one yard line, again the Red Raiders were unable to grab the momentum.
Finally with jsut eight-seconds remaining in the half, Oakcrest was able to get in the endzone. Junior quarterback Dan Smith found Bell in the left corner for a 20-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Falcons advantage.
"We were in cover five which means we had five guys deep," said first-year Red Raider coach Kevin Smith. "Its pretty hard to get beat on a cover five but we blew an assignment, one of our kids got in the wrong position and they wound up in the end zone and we just have to learn from that."
Ocean City's struggles on offesne continued in the second-half.
With 9:27 left in the third quarter, Red Raiders quarterback Chris Cabor rolled out to throw and fired a pass into the flat. Jumping in front and reading the play perfectly was Villanova-bound defensive back Mark Clemons. The senior intercepted the pass and went 45-yards for an Oakcrest touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
"He made a great break on the ball," smiled Smith. The quarterback stared him down, that’s a Division One kid who jumped the route and wound-up in the end zone."
Ocean City would be mired by sloppy play and a ton of penalties (8 for 60 yards on the night) the rest of the quarter and set Oakcrest up for another big play, late in the third quarter.
"The mistake we are making are by 10th grade kids," explained Smith. "We just need to learn from them. They have great athletes and I thought we did a nice job defensively, but they hit us with three big plays and that has kind of been the story of our year - that last one killed us."
The final tallies were not kind to the Red Rader offense, which finshed with just 121 total yards, however there was progress on defense, an area where Ocean City has struggled this season.
"We were surprised because we had six starters out on defense and we had six new kids in on defense who had never started for us before, so we were happy with the way those kids responded," Smith admitted. "Really we only gave up two plays and that’s been the problem, when we give up a big play it ends up in the end zone."