Godwin’s Big Night Fuels Red Tornado As McCaskey Picks Up First Win Of The Season At Reading
Chances are we’ve all had this phrase posed to us before. “Do you want the good news, or the bad news?” If ever that question applied to a football game, it was Friday night at Albright College when Reading welcomed McCaskey to their home turffor the annual meeting between the two city schools. The bad news going into this one? Both the Red Knights and Red Tornado arrived with 0-2 records with both having been outscored by a combined total of 155-71 courtesy of their first two opponents. One of which being a shared foe in the York Bearcats. The good news you ask? Someone would pick up their first win of the season using that a springboard heading into their respective division schedules with much of the season left in front of them. After 48 minutes of football at the base of Mount Penn on Friday night, it would prove to be the McCaskey Red Tornado who will be diving head-first off of that springboard.
Reading would get the ball first on this night and the Red Knights knew exactly what to do with it. Aided by two critical 3rd down conversions through the air from senior quarterback Thomas Perez, the Red Knights looked in midseason form as they marched down the field. If nothing else, the latter conversion might have seemed to serve as a microcosm of how the night might eventually turn out as the ball bounced straight up into the air, only to find the waiting arms of wideout Rafael Ayala for the 16 yard gainer down to the Red Tornado 15 yard line. From there, Ayala had his number called once again and the Red Knight junior was there to accept the charges as his 15 yard TD reception from Perez put Reading up 7-0 with 7:35 to play in the opening quarter.
Speaking of potential microcosms, McCaskey’s initial drive of the contest could’ve equally served as one too. Starting off inside their own 20 yard line, handing the ball off to senior running back Ray Godwin proved to be a logical decision. Godwin didn’t disappoint either as his first touch of the night ended 63 yards later as the Red Tornado was in business, now at the Reading 21 yard line after just one play. After Godwin ripped off a 9 yard run on the following play, McCaskey’s talented workhorse finished off the drive with a 5 yard TD plunge to get McCaskey within a point at 7-6 after the failed PAT attempt with now 6:02 showing on the first quarter clock.
McCaskey would not have to wait long to get their hands back on the football as senior linebacker Edwin Torres was there to fall on the loose pill, courtesy of the hit from teammate Jamiere Gray, as the Red Tornado suddenly found themselves in Red Knight territory looking to go in front after an abrupt end to Reading’s ensuing possession.
It certainly appeared that McCaskey would be able to accomplish that task with the first quarter winding down and the Red Tornado knocking on Reading’s door. However just as Reading’s last drive ended in a turnover, McCaskey’s would end with the same fate as Thomas Perez rose up to snatch the errant pass on 4th and goal on the goal line and immediately race 80 yards to other end to set the Red Knights up in fantastic shape as the first quarter eventually came to close with Reading still maintaining their slim advantage with the 7-6 count.
One play would prove to be all the Red Knights would need to increase their lead as Thomas Perez continued his sensational early night with a 3 yard TD off the option keeper to put Reading up 14-6 with 11:56 to play in the opening half.
The back and forth affair seemed to be on full display yet again as the quick Tornado answer seemed all but a certain, however a costly fumble that rolled out of the endzone resulting in a touchback gave the ball back to Reading, perhaps proving that yet again something was in the air that would make this Reading’s night.
Any possibility of that taking place was refused by Ray Godwin all night in various forms. Not only did McCaskey’s running back carry the mail on the offense, but he also had two takeaways on defense. The first of which came on Reading’s ensuing possession with an interception just as Reading appeared to be mounting a drive after two successful third down conversions.
Godwin would not have to wait long for his second either as the Red Tornado senior pounced on a fumble deep inside Reading territory, ending two Red Knights drives in succession. Fittingly, Godwin was able to see the fruits of his labor pay off as he raced 24 yards to the house to bring McCaskey’s closer, now trailing 14-12 with 2:42 left in the half.
After a sensational return on the ensuing kickoff from do-it-all Red Knight Thomas Perez, Reading found themselves near midfield looking to answer McCaskey right back. Faced with 3rd& 11 just a few plays later, Perez called his own number on the quarterback keeper and dashed 46 yards down the field as the home team found themselves on the precipice of a key score just before the half. Reading was then able to ascend to themountaintop shortly thereafter as a 10 yard dive from senior fullback Kelvin Toro put the Red Knights up 21-12 with just 41 seconds left to play in the half.
Undaunted by Reading’s late score, McCaskey and their quick strike offense went back to work. Things would get off to a promising start as Brian McKenzie returned the kick back to the Tornado 42 yard line giving McCaskey a fantastic starting point. After just one play, McCaskey found themselves across the midfield stripe as a 17 yard Ray Godwin jaunt got things rolling. Play number two of the drive saw senior quarterback Ante Robinson scramble out of pressure all the way down to the Red Knight 24 yard line. That would be all the further McCaskey would need to get as Robinson was able to find Tallian Lehr wide open across the middle as the first half horn rung out for the 24 yard pitch and catch touchdown as McCaskey went riding into the half on the emotional high, despite trailing 21-18.
For as much as the first half felt like a back and forth affair, McCaskey would show that the second half was an F5 tornado. An F5 Red Tornado. “We just went over what they were doing defensively and made sure the offensive line understood the blocking schemes and how we were going to attack,” McCaskey head coach Eric Spencer explained. “We told them we’re going to run it.”
Getting the ball out of the halftime break, the visitors from Lancaster did just that. Following a 17 yard pickup by Ray Godwin, Ante Robinson was able to stroll down to the Red Knight 32 yard line after the nifty option fake for a long Tornado pickup. Faced with a 3rd & 3 later in the same drive, Robinson kept it himself down to the Red Knight 6 yard line to give McCaskey a fresh set of downs. After the Reading defense rose up and held McCaskey out of the endzone on the next few immediate plays, Robinson and his offensive line were able to push the pile across the goal line to give McCaskey their first lead of the night at 24-21 with 6:01 left in the third quarter.
Although it appeared Reading would have a rebuttal to the McCaskey score after a 31 yard pickup by freshman Marlowe Bowen started things off for the Red Knights, the drive would eventually stall out as the Red Knights relinquished the ball back to McCaskey after a turnover on downs.
Reading’s next drive would end in the same fate as well as what looked to be a promising Red Knight drive would eventually end in a turnover on downs inside the McCaskey 30 yard line. That’s when McCaskey put their foot down once and for all.
The Red Tornado wasted little time after the exchange in possession as Ante Robinson threw it up Isiah Speller who was able to win the one on one matchup with his defender and cruise 65 yards to the house to put McCaskey in charge 31-21 with 6:33 to play.
With the game running down and McCaskey in command, Ray Godwin was there to make one last trip into the endzone for the 4 yard TD run to put McCaskey up 38-21 with 1:52 to go. Equally fitting, Isiah Speller put the exclamation point on McCaskey’s marvelous second half defensive performance with an INT late, signifying the Red Tornado holding Reading scoreless in the final half. When all was said and done, it was McCaskey who was able to have an enjoyable trip down Route 222 after their 38-21 takedown of Reading.
Without question, the star of the night was Ray Godwin. His shiftiness and one-cut ability make him one of the most lethal weapons in a District 3 backfield. After a 259 yard, 3 TD night, it’s easy to see why these are the qualities McCaskey head man Eric Spencer is happy to have at his disposal. “He was a major need,” Spencer said simply after the game. “He stepped up and the O-line stepped up. He’s getting stronger and more physical as the game goes along. I’m pretty proud of his effort.”
NEXT UP: McCaskey will look to build off Friday night’s victorious road trip as the Red Tornado now make the dive into LL Section 1 play with a matchup against neighboring Conestoga Valley on the road in Witmer. Although McCaskey will enter league play with a 1-2 record after the nonconference portion of their schedule, Coach Spencer remains optimistic for the road ahead for his Red Tornado squad. “I was a little disappointed last week,” Spencer eluded to going back to last week’s matchup against York. “We had some breakdowns and gave up some big plays we shouldn’t have, but we’ll get there. We have seven games left so we’re ready to work.”
Although Reading now possesses an 0-3 record, the Red Knight’s schedule has certainly not been easy. After setbacks to three fellow city schools in York, Coatesville, and now McCaskey, Reading will continue with the city flavor as the Red Knights head east to take on Chester. Following the matchup against the Clippers, Reading will enter league play with arguably three winnable games before facing a back-loaded Berks Section 1 schedule that includes the likes of Governor Mifflin and Exeter before a matchup with neighboring Muhlenberg.
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