CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Having seen the momentum shift back over to Bradley Central late in their football game Friday night, Cleveland linebacker Jonathan Terrero saw an opportunity to make a play to earn his first-ever victory over his team's chief rival - and he made it.
Terrero blocked a Clayton Steels extra-point try late in the game, and the Raiders held on to win 21-20 for their first victory in the series since 2010. They improved to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in District 5-AAA.
The Bears (4-3, 1-2) had just closed to within a point on a 54-yard trick play with 1:53 to play -- a double pass started by quarterback Brett Standifer to receiver Dee Crisp, who then found a wide-open Cal Pickel. Terrero then sliced in and blocked the extra point, teammate Jackson Earle fell on the ensuing onside kick and the Raiders ran out the clock.
"I saw the tackle was too slow to block me, and I timed the play and hit the gap and got the block," Terrero said. "We didn't beat [Bradley feeder school] Lake Forest when I was in middle school, and I hadn't beat Bradley in my three years of varsity. I can't imagine a better feeling right now. This is one of the best games I've ever been a part of."
He also led a defensive effort that limited the Bears to 17 carries for 21 yards for the game.
The Bears took a 14-0 lead into halftime on a touchdown pass from Standifer to Pickel and a short run by Logan Fetzner, but the Raiders came out running the ball in the second half. Their first 15 plays were runs, and the second pass that quarterback Austin Herink threw was a slant to Tyler Davis, who outran the defense for a 48-yard score that turned out to be the game-winner.
Cleveland had 274 yards rushing on 37 carries in the second half and finished with 344 on the ground. T.J. Parker totaled 125 yards rushing -- 102 in the second half -- on 15 carries, while Raekwon Bunion had 108 on 18 attempts. Herink added 86 yards on the ground and a score.
"At halftime, Coach [Ron Crawford] told us to keep our heads in it, and we finally chilled out," said Parker, who also ran for a touchdown. "I wasn't surprised we ran so much in the second half: We have a lot of run plays that work, and we were able to run two plays that worked tonight. Our line did a great job."
The Bears had a chance to tie when they recovered a Raekwon Bunion fumble at the 4-yard line with 2:46 to play. On a fourth-down play, Standifer passed to junior Daniel Clark, who outjumped two defenders for the catch at the 46-yard line. Bradley scored four plays later before Terrero's heroics.
Standifer was 23-for-37 passing for 262 yards. He was 16-for-19 in the first half, completing his first seven and his final eight passes of the half. Clark had a huge game for the Bears, making nine catches for 136 yards.
"Daniel was unbelievable for us tonight. He plays both ways, doesn't complain and just made plays for us," Bradley coach Damon Floyd said.
"The bottom line is that Cleveland played more inspired than us. You have to make tackles and we didn't do that. We let up, but the guys fought to the end."
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.