For a moment early in the third quarter at Reed Friday night, the Raiders and heavy underdog Galena, sat tied at 21.
Galena quarterback Derek Kline hit receiver Quintin Mills for a two-point conversion that temporarily tied the contest with 8:58 left in the third. However, a holding call took the two points off the board. The second attempt at the conversion, another Kline pass, fell to the Reed grass.
It was all Raiders from that point on.
Reed outscored the visiting Grizzlies 21-0 the rest of the way on its way to a deceiving 42-19 win. The Raiders improved to 3-0, 0-0 while the Grizzlies dropped to 1-2, 0-0.
“They wore us down a little bit,” Galena coach Steve Struzyk said. “But I’m proud of the effort.”
Reed senior quarterback Matt Denn scored from 20 yards out on Reed’s next possession, capping an eight-play drive that lasted less than three minutes.
After Galena’s ensuing drive stalled at its own 44 and the Raiders took over at their own 40, Denn broke four would-be sacks and went 68 yards down the sideline to put the non-league contest out of reach. The big play put the Raiders up 35-19 with 8:33 to play.
Galena limited the defending DI North Offensive Player of the Year to 8-of-17 passing for 100 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. The majority of Denn’s damage came on the ground. He carried the rock eight times for 133 yards and three touchdowns.
“I wouldn’t say Matt had his best game but way to be the leader he is,” Reed coach Ernie Howren said. “We needed him to step up. He stepped us and helped us win that game in a big way.
“If you’re a dude, you find something else that’s going to help the team the team win the ball game. That’s exactly what Matt did.”
Galena’s next possession resulted in a punt from its own 5 that turned into an 8-yard Tre Bussey touchdown four plays later, putting the finishing touches on Reed’s win in its home opener.
Despite the outcome uncertainty midway through the third quarter, the contest was dominated by Reed early.
The Raiders scored touchdowns on their first three possessions of the night to stake a 21-0 lead with 2:30 left to play in the first quarter.
“It’s tough to give them 21 points right off the bat like that and try to battle back,” Struzyk said. “That just made our job a helluva lot tougher.”
The Grizzlies didn’t shy from the challenge though, scoring 13 unanswered points going into the break. Quarterback Derek Kline hit Quintin Mills down the seam for a 70-yard touchdown to cut the gap to 21-6 (missed PAT). Mills hit Kline from 23 yards out one possession later to sneak within 21-13 going into the break. The touchdown pass capped a 16-play drive that lasted seven minutes.
Galena then nearly tied the game early in the third quarter before the Raiders went on a 21-0 to close the game.
“We came out. We get a 21-point lead and all of a sudden they come roaring back?, Howren said. “That’s on us. I don’t want to take credit away from Galena but we had momentum completely on our side and they took it away. That has to fall on us too.”
Reed senior running back Jorden Carter amassed 165 yards on 23 carries and scored a one-yard touchdown on the first possession of the night.
Kline, who got the start in the place of Mills, completed 18-of-24 passes for 215 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Mills is Galena’s best athlete and moved to receiver where he caught eight passes for 117 yards and both of Kline’s touchdown passes.
“We weren’t surprised but we knew what kind of athlete he was,” Howren said. “Our scouting report (said) we just needed to know where No. 12 was. Unfortunately, he’s a dude and he made some good plays.”
The Raiders will try to improve to a perfect 4-0 in non-league play next Friday when they host Oak Ridge (Calif.) at 7 p.m.