Raiders look to go out on a high note at NW Oklahoma

The Southern Oregon football team will embark on the longest road trip of the season this weekend, heading to Alva, Okla. to battle NAIA foe Northwestern Oklahoma Saturday afternoon.

The Raiders (3-6) are coming off a huge victory over Menlo College last week. Northwestern (7-2) is ranked 16th in this week's NAIA Top 25 poll and has won seven games in a row. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. (CST).

The game has been selected by Victory Sports Network as the National Game of the Week and will be carried on their website. Viewers can get to the site by visiting prior to kickoff.

Playing shorthanded last week — five players were suspended one game for breaking team rules — the Raiders rallied to end a six-game losing streak on the road against a Menlo team that beat SOU earlier in the season at Raider Stadium.

"Last week was a huge win for our program," SOU head coach Steve Helminiak said. "It showed the guys still cared and it really got the guys fired up to play this week."

Leading the charge were a pair of freshmen, playing in their first college games. Freshman quarterback Chris Kammel passed for 183 yards and a touchdown. Freshman running back CJ Valdivia rushed for 147 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown.

"The young guys really stepped up," Helminiak said. "It was a total team effort. James (Wheeler) did a great job with some returns on special teams to give us great field position and played great defensively."

Kammel will start again Saturday in place of usual starter Paul Sweeney, who was suspended for last week's game and has battled sickness this week.

This week, the Raiders will be facing a Northwestern Oklahoma squad that is looking to advance to the NAIA playoffs.

"They are very athletic, fast and physical," Helminiak said. "Defensively they have players at every level, defensive line, linebacker and secondary. Offensively, they are going to play no-huddle and that always presents some problems for a defense." Wide receiver Korey Williams is the key to the Rangers' offense. Williams ranks third in the NAIA with 69 catches on the year.

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