Coach Ty Tomlin delivered a straightforward message to his team following the Sept. 15 Mid-Willamette Conference opener against visiting Crescent Valley High.

Despite an uncharacteristic number of miscues and penalties, Lebanon still found itself with a late fourth-quarter lead against a talented opponent. But the Warriors couldn’t seal the deal.

Cam Sanders’ touchdown run and two-point conversion with 1:11 to play lifted the Raiders to a 25-24 victory at Heath Stadium. The Raiders had allowed 24 answered points following the second-quarter ejection of two-way standout Talanoa Hufanga.

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“Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes, mistakes,” Lebanon’s coach told his team immediately following the game. “We know what we’ve got to clean up.”

With 2:40 remaining in the first half, Hufanga was ejected following his second who was removed from the game for targeting. The Raiders (3-0, 1-0) led 17-0 at the time.

Smelling blood with Hufanga out, the defending 5A state champions quickly got on the board against a scrambled CV defense. Chase Miller’s 2-yard dive cut the deficit to 17-6 at the break.

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Midway through the third quarter, junior quarterback Colton Shepard connected with Ray Rashoodi for a 59-yard touchdown. The Warriors (2-1, 0-1) took the lead on their next drive, going up 18-17 on Clyde Rood’s 21-yard TD reception.

The Warriors appeared to seal the game late with a 12-play drive that used up nearly 6 minutes of clock. Shepard scored on a keeper from 25 yards out with 2:17 to go, but the hosts were stuffed on the two-point conversion.

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The Warriors went 0 for 3 on two-point attempts and missed a PAT.

Taking over at its own 41, CV needed just four plays to reach the end zone. Sawyer Cleveland completed passes to Tariq Harris (19 yards) and Briley Knight (32) to set up Sanders’ 4-yard scoring plunge.

The Raiders burned their final two timeouts in preparation for the two-point try, eventually settling on an inside handoff to Sanders. The enormous 6-foot-4, 215-pound tailback plowed through the line to give CV a 25-24 lead.

Lebanon couldn’t pick up a first down on its final drive, turning it over on downs at its own 27. Two kneel-downs ended the game.

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