Raiders roll on

Nick Smith/PrepsKC

By Toriano Porter PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: September 21, 2018 - 10:42 PM

In an era of spread football and all-out passing attacks, Pembroke Hill’s old school approach to running the football is a breath of fresh air. Not to dismiss teams that air it out, but the Raiders’ ground attack against host Lincoln Prep was impressive.

Even better was the Raiders’ defense, holding Lincoln Preps’ dominating ground game to a mere 26 yards in the first half en route to a 28-6 win in a Week 5 contest at Interscholastic League Stadium.

The tilt was’s Game of the Week.

The Raiders remained undefeated through five weeks with the win. The Blue Tigers dropped to 3-2 (2-0 in the IL) on the season.

Pembroke Hill head coach Sam Knopik’s squad was simply bigger, stronger and better than Lincoln Prep on Friday night.

“Nine out of 10 times we’re not the bigger, stronger team,” Knopik said. “But in the years when you’ve got kids that play with a low pad level and a little mean, you get to have games like this where you grind it out for four quarters.”

The loss was a great teaching moment for Lincoln Prep head coach William Lowe’s squad. The Blue Tigers have already matched last season’s win total. The work to get better has just begun, Lowe said.

“We played hard, but the kids are still learning” he said. “Football is a tough game. And that is what we told our kids. They have to keep learning.”

Pembroke running back Quinn Brandmeyer was a problem for the Blue Tigers. All night long. The bruising tailback tallied two touchdowns runs in the first half to help put the Raiders in front 14-0 at halftime.

Play after play the Raiders’ run game gave Lincoln fits. Brandmeyer led the charge. Pembroke featured the 6-foot 3-inch, 220-pounder on a variety of power runs. His backfield mate Hank Newell was just as tough. And senior quarterback Joe Graves was steady under center.

“We have a lot of strong running backs and a lot of depth,” Brandmeyer said. “And obviously a really smart quarterback so it makes it easy.”

Sophomore utility player Innis McLiney was a revelation for the Raiders. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound backup quarterback rushed for a touchdown and found freshman wide receiver Quinton Conley on a 35-yard score to account for another.

Knopik had high praise for the youngster.

“He’s a tailback, a quarterback, a defensive end, a safety,” Knopik said. “I think he has made every single tackle on kickoff. For a sophomore, we have put a lot on his shoulders. He’s just one of those kids that’s a ballplayer.”

The Raiders held Lincoln Prep sophomore quarterback Howard Brown in check. One week after accounting for five touchdowns, this week’s PrepsKC Papa John’s Player of the Week was virtually shut down until a late fourth-quarter drive against Pembroke’s backup defenders.

The score did avert a shutout for the Blue Tigers. But Brandmeyer’s hard-charging running style and the Raiders’ stingy defense played a major part in Lincoln’s troubles.

“We got behind early and it took us out of our game plan,” Lowe said. “We like to run the ball and try to control the clock. But we could never get in a rhythm.”