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Raiders look for redemption at Humboldt State

Southern Oregon football coach Jeff Olson doesn't need to be reminded about the last time his team played in the Redwood Bowl.

It's a game I'd like to forget, he says.

Olson and the Raiders (1-0) will get their chance to bury the past and the Humboldt State Lumberjacks (1-1) when the two teams resume their rivalry at 6 tonight in Arcata, Calif. The game will be broadcast on KCMX (880-AM).

The last time SOU made the trip to Arcata, the Raiders ran out to a 10-0 lead only to watch the Lumberjacks score the game's final 31 points and win going away.

It was a devastating loss that Olson has since labeled the worst Raider performance in his nine years as head coach.

— But that was then.

I constantly remind our people not to look back on things, Olson says. It's a new year, a new season, and as far as I'm concerned, right now, this is just the next step in the process of moving forward for us.

The 16th-ranked Raiders took the first step last week. Senior quarterback Brandon Griffith completed 21 of 33 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns, and the Raider defense kept visiting Si Tanka Huron out of the end zone in a 21-7 SOU win.

Olson liked what he saw out of Griffith and loved what he saw out of the Raider defense but wants to clean up the penalties and limit turnovers. SOU was penalized 10 times for 90 yards and turned the ball over three times.

SOU's defense will probably face a much stiffer test in the NCAA Division II Lumberjacks. They are led by senior quarterback Jason Baughman, who passed for 468 yards in a 40-21 loss ' the teams' second meeting of 2003 ' at Raider Stadium last year.

Baughman's favorite target is Great Northwest Conference all-star wide receiver Dustin Creager, who leads the Lumberjacks in both receptions (13) and receiving yards (184).

Last year in Arcata, the Lumberjacks decimated the Raiders through the air when Chris Dixon completed an astounding 41 of 48 passes for 401 yards.

SOU's pass defense looked much improved in the season-opener, however, and Olson has been impressed with its tenacity.

I just feel that this is a group that's going to battle for 60 minutes regardless of the circumstance, he says. Are we going to play any better, I don't know. But I just anticipate a very, very solid performance for 60 minutes.

Joe Zavala is sports editor of the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach him at 482-3456.