There was a larger crowd than usual at West Roxbury High school when the Raiders squared off against the Madison Park Cardinals on Friday afternoon.
West Roxbury defeated Madison Park, 14-6, in what was an aggressive and hard-fought game that was watched and even coached a bit by some of the members of the 1983 West Roxbury championship team, the first city team to win a super bowl.
“I’m very proud of these young men out here, carrying on the tradition.” Super Bowl champ Reggie Nichols said afterward. “I wish I was 30 years younger so I could be back out there, but being here now takes me back to a great time.”
Nichols, a defensive end on the 1983 team, came early with a few other teammates to enjoy a celebratory tailgate with hot dogs, hamburgers, and some reminiscence of the glory days.
“Back then the city of Boston was going through some trials and tribulations, and out here this was my oasis,” he said. “This was my second family.”
The 2013 Raiders (1-1) played like they had something to prove, but getting the win took some time.
Madison Park running back Frederic Dawhensky scored the game's first touchdown when he broke free for a 30-yard score on the Cardinals' first drive. Then, after West Roxbury took over, quarterback David Bertucci was intercepted by linebacker Lacey Walker-Barnes.
But West Roxbury turned back the threat and came out firing early in the second quarter.
The Raiders tied the game, 6-6, behind senior running back Michael Obiangwe’s powerful 6-yard run two minutes into the quarter.
“Our whole team stepped up today,” Obiangwe said. “We definitely came out and took care of our business.”
Following a long Madison Park drive and eventual punt, it was West Roxbury’s Raymond Tejeda’s turn to shine as he broke through the middle and darted 65 yards for a touchdown, this one coming just short of the two-minute warning in the first half. Obiangwe converted the successful 2-point conversion.
“I knew the play was coming to me,” Tejeda said. “All I was thinking about was getting that touchdown. Once I got by that first guy I just put on the jets.”
Obiangwe, who left last week's game with a slight neck sprain, sat out the game's final two minutes on defense after an apparent knee injury, but said he was fine and it was only precautionary.
After the game West Roxbury coach Derek Wright recognized the positive and negative aspects of his team’s win.
“Today was a little sloppy, but I’ll take a win any day,” he said. “We definitely played with a lot of aggressiveness but we still need to play better as a team.”
When the teams were lining up to shake hands at the 50-yard line, Madison Park coach Roosevelt Robinson was seen shaking Wright’s hand while they both smiled and talked briefly about the game.
“We’re both young teams,” Roosevelt said after his team dropped to 0-2. “Congrats to West Roxbury and Coach Wright. Over here we’ve still got a lot of youngsters and inexperience on the field so we’re building.”
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.