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Naumann rushes for 201, Raiders top Lions to open season

RICHARDTON -- It was a sloppy field, but Matthew Naumann still found plenty of traction. Unhindered by the wet and soggy playing surface from overnight rainfall, the Richardton-Taylor-Hebron junior rumbled for 201 yards and two touchdowns in the ...

Press Photo by Parker Cotton Richardton-Taylor-Hebron junior Matthew Naumann breaks away on a 54-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against Linton-HMB on Friday in Richardton. Naumann finished with 201 yards rushing. (Press Photo by Parker Cotton)
Press Photo by Parker Cotton Richardton-Taylor-Hebron junior Matthew Naumann breaks away on a 54-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against Linton-HMB on Friday in Richardton. Naumann finished with 201 yards rushing. (Press Photo by Parker Cotton)

RICHARDTON - It was a sloppy field, but Matthew Naumann still found plenty of traction.

Unhindered by the wet and soggy playing surface from overnight rainfall, the Richardton-Taylor-Hebron junior rumbled for 201 yards and two touchdowns in the Raiders' season-opening 25-8 victory over Linton-HMB on Friday at Richardton-Taylor High School.

"He made improvements during the game," Raiders head coach Travis Olson said. "Thank God for that offensive line in front of him, and I think he'd say the same, coming back with guys like that. It's a perfect situation for a green running back. And the thing is, he's got some talent too."

That talent was evident early on.

After getting small chunks of yardage in the opening minutes of the game, Naumann ripped off a 54-yard dash to the end zone with 1:28 left in the first quarter. A conversion run from Kyle Kuntz gave RTH an early 8-0 advantage.

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"The line did a great job creating a hole for me to get through there," Naumann said.

The Lions answered right away with a 75-yard kickoff return for a score from Chase Schiele. A conversion run from quarterback Cole Baumiller knotted the score at 8-8, but that's all the scoring Linton-HMB would find.

Naumann scored again in the second quarter on a 19-yard run, putting RTH ahead 14-8 after the failed conversion.

Driving the other way, Baumiller was picked off by Brendan Butterfield around midfield, stopping a promising drive. Inside of 15 seconds to play in the half, Beau Frederick forced Baumiller to fumble and it was picked up by Gabe Vaagen at the 2-yard line. Kuntz scored on the very next play to send the Raiders ahead 22-8 at the break.

"That got the momentum going in the whole team," Naumann said of Kuntz's score. "We just kept it going, and we were able to make some more plays off of it."

The second half was comparatively quiet on offense, with the only points coming on a 27-yard field goal from Raiders senior Braden Wehri midway through the fourth quarter.

The Lions earned just 83 total yards in the game, as RTH didn't allow them a lot of room to operate.

"We had ourselves in long-down-and-distance a lot of the night," Lions head coach Paul Keeney said, "so if we just do more damage on first and second down in the future and make it more manageable distances, our success rate on third down would be much higher."

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Keeney is in his first year at head coach at Linton-HMB after the retirement last season of Dan Imdieke, one of the most winningest coaches in state history who had coached the Lions for nearly 40 years.

"All of my staff including myself had coached under him," Keeney said. "We're continuing a lot of the things he did, with a few wrinkles of our own, but all of our players have played for him as well. There's a long-standing tradition at Linton-HMB, and I hope we continue to have some success soon."

Lions junior running back Landon Twardoski carried 11 times for 96 yards but Baumiller finished just 2 for 11 passing for minus 4 yards and two interceptions, the second coming when Naumann intercepted him with four minutes remaining in the game.

Frederick finished with a team-high six tackles for RTH, and Tony Kolar added five with a sack.

"They all got to the ball well," Olson said of his defense. "It was really solid."

Richardton-Taylor-Hebron 25, Linton-HMB 8

L-HMB 8 0 0 0 - 8

RTH 8 14 0 3 - 25

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First quarter

RTH - Mathew Nauman 54 run (Kyle Kuntz run conversion good), 1:42

L-HMB - Chase Schiele 75 kickoff return (Cole Baumiller run conversion good), 1:28

Second quarter

RTH - Naumann 19 run (Conversion no good), 8:15

RTH - Kyle Kuntz 2 run (Butterfield run conversion good), :07

Third quarter

No scoring.

Fourth quarter

RTH - Braden Wehri 27 field goal, 7:22

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing: L-HMB: Landon Twardoski 11-96, Chase Schiele 1-4. RTH: Mathew Naumann 24-201, Kyle Kuntz 12-28.

Passing: L-HMB: Cole Baumiller 2-11-2 (-4 yards). RTH: Brendan Butterfield: 2-6-0 11.

Receiving: L-HMB: Jayden Benz 2-(-4). RTH: Gabe Vaagen 1-10, Ethan Kuntz 1-1.

Defense: L-HMB: Cole Vander Laan 14 tackles, 2 sacks, 7.5 TFL; Landon Twardoski 8 tackles. RTH: Beau Frederick 6 tackles, 3 TFL; Tony Kolar 5 tackles, 1 sack; Mathew Naumann 4 tackles, INT; Brendan Butterfield INT.

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