The YRHS Raider Gridders senior football team has yet to be challenged three games into the Moose Jaw High School Football League season.
Following stomping on the Moose Jaw Vanier Vikings and Swift Current Colts in their first two games at home, the Raider Gridders trounced the Moose Jaw Central Cyclones in their own barn on Sept. 28 in a 41-9 win.
“We’re rolling,” said Raider Gridders head coach Roby Sharpe. “The guys are playing hard and teams just haven’t been able to compete with us yet. It’s great to see that the players’ offseasons and working hard in training camp has paid off.”
The Raider Gridders would have likely finished with an even higher score, but they replaced their starters with depth players in the fourth quarter.
“Moose Jaw probably would have only scored two points, but we put in our backups in the last quarter,” said Sharpe. “It was a good opportunity to give them a chance to play with a huge lead.”
Quarterback David Balysky led the Raider Gridders’ offense with 133 yards on the ground and 157 yards in the air, completing nine of 16 passes.
“He’s a double-threat out there,” said Sharpe. “He can throw, run and he can even punt if he has to. He’s a guy teams haven’t been able to contain. We knew he’d work well in our system and he hasn’t disappointed.”
When Balysky wasn’t running through Moose Jaw’s defensive line, Zach Kais was. He ran for three touchdowns, capturing 93 yards on 13 rushes
“Our run game is tough to stop,” said Sharpe. “Our offensive line opens up holes and we got the right guys to take off through them.”
Alex Popoff clicked with Balysky in the air for the second straight game. He snagged five balls for 106 yards.
“He’s got great hands and great legs – it’s a deadly combination,” said Sharpe on Popoff. “He beats defensive backs with his legs and has the hands to bring in the long balls. He also got an interception, so he’s even catching passes that aren’t thrown his way.”
On the defensive side of things, the Raider Gridders held the Cyclones to only 111 yards, including only a single yard on the ground.
Throughout their first three games, the Raiders Gridders have -13 yards allowed on the ground.
“Teams just haven’t been able to run the ball on us,” said Sharpe. “We have a great defensive line that shuts them down and if they get through them they have Grey McKen to deal with. It has gotten to the point that teams won’t run the ball on us because they don’t want their running backs to have to get hit as much as they have. They don’t want their running backs to get hurt and have to be without them the following game.”
The Raider Gridders’ next game takes place this upcoming Friday at home in Century Field against Weyburn. It’s their annual Friday Night Lights Game.
Sharpe believes Weyburn will be Yorkton’s first true test on where they stand in the 12-man 3A league.
“Weyburn won’t be an easy game,” he said. “They really beat up the Central Cyclones, so they have been winning big, too. I think that game will show us where we sit in this league. So far we haven’t been challenged, but we know teams will challenge us and we’ll have some close games.”