Year in Review 2011: Raptors win one 'for Braedon'
Just hours after the passing of a beloved classmate, the East Ridge football team overcame emotions and a rival to win one for Braedon Hyland. Hyland, a member of the Raptors' football, hockey and track teams, died Friday, Oct. 14, after suffering injuries in a car accident Oct. 10.
"It was about a lot more than football tonight," East Ridge's Luke Mlsna said after the Raptors' emotional win in 2011. "This one was for Braedon Hyland."
Mlsna, a senior receiver, caught the game-winning touchdown against Suburban East Conference and intra-district rival Park, going up over a Wolfpack defender to haul in an eight-yard pass from senior quarterback Brandon Johnson. Mlsna's score came with 1:27 remaining in the fourth quarter, giving the Raptors a 20-14 lead over Park and capping a comeback from a 14-7 halftime deficit.
"It was tough, they're a great team and on top of that, the emotions were high," Mlsna said. "There were points I'd just cry for no reason. I love the guys out there - on both sides of the ball. But, we had to win this game. We needed this one."
After the game, East Ridge and Park players and fans gathered together on the field in honor of Hyland.
East Ridge had 331 yards of total offense in the game, with 236 yards rushing. Park had 329 total yards - 187 in the air and 142 on the ground.
East Ridge senior Dayo Ogundepo led the Raptors with 21 carries for 143 yards. Sophomore running back Nick Leach added 81 yards on 12 carries.
For Park, junior running back Dylan Smallidge had 128 yards rushing and a touchdown on 26 carries to lead the Wolfpack, while senior quarterback Kyle Fritz was 11-21 passing for 167 yards, along with scoring a 1-yard rushing touchdown in the first half.
The East Ridge and Woodbury boys hockey teams also honored Hyland in 2011. Hyland was a standout defenseman for the Raptors after playing youth hockey for Woodbury growing up.
The game between East Ridge and Woodbury, which ended in a 2-2 tie, began with a tribute to Hyland. Also, in a very rare occurrence at the high school level, Hyland's number, 23, was retired by East Ridge.