Byrd Radnor Overcome Short Rest Beats Rival Lower Merion
Tagged under: District 1, Gameday Hub, News
Willie McGonigle | November 8, 2022
RADNOR: For as long as the game of football has been played coaches always talked about the 24-hour rule: where you have 24 hours to think about the previous game before moving to the next one. For the Radnor Raptors that proved to be true as after they were defeated by West Chester Rustin in the first round of the District 1 5A Playoffs, the Raptors took Saturday off then it was back to the field Sunday morning to prepare for the next game which took place Monday evening.
Monday’s game wasn’t just any other game for the Raptors it was 128 times in 126 years that Radnor would battle their mainline rivals Lower Merion Aces. In the end, the Raptors and Amir Byrd had enough in their tanks to walk off Radnor’s Prevost Field victorious defeating the Aces 14-0 in front of a full house.
“Guys were beat up, but we had a mental practice on Sunday, we knew all the work was put in throughout the season and all we needed to do was execute what we been working towards.” Senior offensive lineman Anton Skvortsov said before fellow Senior Tommy DeShan jumped in adding “We only need one day to get hype for LM (Lower Merion).
“It was hard mentally and physically the boys are tough they were prepared; they were smart everyone came in Sunday morning ready to go.” Running back Amir Byrd added.
The only thing close experience-wise that Raptors coach Kyle Yeiter had to have this close back-to-back was when he was fresh out of college and was coaching the Bustleton Bengals youth club when they reached Nationals. To make matters harder for the Raptors their previous two opponents (Penncrest and West Chester Rustin) ran the triple option and wing-t offenses while the Aces run the spread.
“We face adversity all year and we said Hey guys tomorrow we aren’t going to do anything physical going to get our minds right and get their formations out there. Make a few personnel changes they are a true spread team Last week we faced a triple option (Penncrest) and wing-t (Rustin). “One day to prepare for that not the best thing in the world but our guys just went out and made plays,” Yeiter said.
Thankfully for the Raptors, Byrd was ready to go right from the start on the Raptors’ very first place from scrimmage Byrd got loose along the Raptors’ sideline and raced 80-yards to the end zone giving the Raptors the 7-0 lead.
“He just makes guys miss that’s not coaching, that was a good call by offensive coordinator Larry Disipio he and Coach Lex (co-offensive coordinator Lex Bruno had a good idea and that’s just Amir Byrd making plays, our line blocked it up Zach Fluck got in there got a nice kick out the block that’s just a player making plays.” Yeiter said adding “That’s what the guys say start out fast and say hey we are here to play. “He’s been making plays like that all year and he just took it to house and that really set tone, we had a great start defensively and that just carried throughout the game.
While Byrd said, “Coach drawn it up. He told me he trusted me to give me the ball the first play My Oline those kids are special it was open I saw it and I was off to the races after that.”
From that point on the Raptors turned the game over to their defense to keep Ace’s QB Mekhai Smith in check limiting the Aces offense to 206 yards total offense. Smith drew high praise from Yeiter who called Smith outstanding.
On the Raptors’ second possession of the game, they appeared poised to extend their lead to 14 driving down to the Aces’ 7-yard where they would fumble. Jack Diamondstein recovered the ball for the Aces.
Late in the first half Aces punter, Declan Mack delivered a picture-perfect punt of 45-yards that pinned the Raptors at their two-yard line.
Coming out to start the second half the Aces wanting to get momentum on their side elected and executed an onside kick and it appeared to give the Aces momentum as they managed to drive down to the Raptor 11 before turning the ball over on downs.
A failed fake punt attempt by the Aces on their first possession of the fourth quarter led to the Raptors tacking on to their lead. On the first play following the fake punt, Byrd with the help of a great block by Deshan got loose again and 31-yards later he was in the end zone.
“My boy Tommy Deshan oh my god that kid can hit he made the biggest block all night soon as I heard that block, I knew I was getting to the sideline, and I knew it was all over,” Byrd said.
For the game, Byrd finished with 164 yards on 10 carries and wanted to give credit to his line consisting of Dominick Laudicina, Keaton Monaghan Gabe Douthwaite Connor Eustice, and Skvortsov saying “I couldn’t do it without them they put in work every Monday-Friday they trust each other I trust them.”
Aiden Roselle sealed the win with this interception off a tip by Byrd of Smith with 3:15 left to play. The Raptors went on to run out the clock.
With the victory the Raptors win their 11th consecutive vs the Aces and finish with a 4-7 record and Coach Yeiter will get more family time with his wife and their 1-month-old son. The Aces end the season with a record of 2-9 but are on the right track under coach Joe Augustine’s direction.
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