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Levy Raiders open season with win

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By The Staff

The Levy County Raiders piled up 467 yards to upend the North Florida Vikings 30-0 in their season opener of United Football Federation action in Palatka on Saturday. 

The Raiders moved the ball 72 yards on their first possession before the drive stalled at the Vikings' 72-yard line. The Vikings took over on downs only to face one of the league's stingiest defenses, eventually turning the ball over on downs.

The Raiders took over at their own 36 and later scored on a 43-yard touchdown pass from Steve Hall to Tony Johnson. Junior Battles ran in the two-point conversion to give Levy an 8-0 lead.

The rest of the first half was a defensive battle, but North Florida took the opening possession to the Raiders’ 15. The Vikings' drive ended without a score with Raiders linebacker Calvin Williams intercepting a pass across the middle.

Levy County’s offense capitalized on the turnover by driving the ball 86 yards on strong running by backs Red Ellison, Montrey Cray and Lavonte Cox. The three-headed push proved to be too much for the Vikings in the second half. They gained yards in big chunks behind the blocking of Steve Whitmer, Mike Reaves, Forrest Harmon, John Tidwell and Toby Byars.

Cox scored from seven yards out for the second score and Battles punched in the two-point conversion to give the Raiders a 16-0 lead.

Levy County safety Lawrence Burris picked off a pass on the ensuing possession to set up the next scoring drive, which stretched 66 yards and was capped off by an eight-yard run by Johnson. The two-point conversion was successful again with Battles running it in to up the Raiders’ lead to 24-0.

Levy County cornerback Tracy Moore gave his team another interception on the Vikings’ next possession. The ensuing drive by the Raiders ended when fullback Toby Byars scored from one-yard out. The two-point conversion failed, resulting in the final margin.

Another Raiders' interception by Williams, who returned it to the Vikings’ 28, ended the game. 

Ellison led the offense with 11 carries for 135 yards, followed by Cox (13-102), Cray (13-98) and Tim Jenkins (10-88). Hall completed 11 of 18 passes for 130 yards with Johnson hauling in two passes for 66 yards and Cody Fisher having one catch for 27 yards.

Levy’s defense was led by Williams with 12 tackles, including four for losses. Tackle Delmar Dial had 11 tackles with three sacks. Ron Fisher had 10 tackles, including two for losses. Mark James had nine tackles, including three for a loss, and a fumble recovery. Jerry Knettles had nine tackles, two blocks and an interception. Ryan Hudson had seven tackles with three for losses. Shey Cray had eight tackles, Tracy Moore had seven tackles and an interception, and Lawrence Burris had six tackles.

 The Raiders play their first home game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., when they host the Orlando Phantoms in Williston.