RADNOR — Radnor junior offensive lineman Alex Andersen was talking to senior line mate Eric Von Hertsenberg at practice several days before the Raiders' annual meeting with Lower Merion.
"He mentioned the game we lost to them two years ago,' Von Hertsenberg said. "He said he didn't want us to have the same feeling we had after that game again.'
Andersen, Von Hertsenberg and the other Radnor linemen did all they could to make sure the 117th renewal of the ancient rivalry ended in the home team's favor Saturday afternoon. The Raiders rolled up 281 yards on the ground and sprung senior Jimmie Blake for three scoring runs as Radnor (3-8) claimed its 50th victory in the series, a 33-14 decision on Prevost Field.
The Raiders struggled through the first quarter and fell behind after not covering the opening kickoff and giving Lower Merion (0-10) the ball at the Radnor 37.
A 25-yard completion from Andrew Kerber to Miles Michnowicz set up Ari Wilen's 6-yard scoring run 2:49 into the game.
"After that first quarter I think we all told ourself that it shouldn't be like this,' Blake said. "I know the seniors realized we only had three more quarters to play together.'
One of the 22 Radnor seniors, Erami Wilson, did his part with an interception at the Aces' 30 three plays before the opening quarter came to an end.
Sophomore Jack Wilson ran 16 yards on the second quarter's first play to tie the score, and senior George Russell's kick put the home team on top.
It took 4½ minutes for Radnor to add to its lead, with Blake (134 yards on 14 carries) covering the final 20 yards. Wilson tossed a completion to senior co-captain Andrew Major on the conversion.
"All week the school spirit has been driving us,' Major said. "We've met so many former players who came back this week, including a gentleman who is almost 100 and is the oldest surviving (Radnor) player. Seeing and hearing all that's been going on has been a real motivator.'
Blake picked up 37 of the 38 yards on the next possession as Radnor drove for its third touchdown, scoring from 14 yards out.
Lower Merion's Malik Ward got off a 57-yard kickoff return to the Raiders' 38, and on the next play Kerber teamed with Michnowicz for six points.
Another Lower Merion punt that landed at the Aces' 38 helped Radnor to the first points of the second half. Blake had runs of 15 and 18 yards before scoring from the 4.
The last touchdown came from junior Mike Thompson on a 10-yard run early in the fourth quarter. The Radnor defense, with Von Hertsenberg turning in several tackles for losses, limited Lower Merion to 30 yards total offense in the second half before giving way to the reserves in the final four minutes.
"Every game is important, but you wait all year to play this one,' Von Hertsenberg said. "I know I went out there to go all out all game.'
Radnor head coach Tom Ryan was delighted with the work of Blake and Wilson (15 carries, 95 yards) as well as his team's line play."Jimmie's had all kind of injury issues this year,' Ryan said. "But he's averaged 10 yards a carry the last couple of games. And (Von Hertsenberg) has just gotten better and better since his sophomore season."
We have some good underclassmen coming back and about 35 freshmen coming up. But I'm really going to miss all these seniors. I'm just glad they got to go out like this.'