Surging Raiders climb to 20th in football poll

ASHLAND — The Southern Oregon University football team moved up two spots to No. 20 in this week's NAIA rankings following its fifth straight win Saturday.

The Raiders (6-2 overall, 6-1 Frontier Conference) rejoined the Top 25 poll last week for the first time since the preseason. Their 51-16 defeat of Montana Western was on par with the rest of the streak, during which they've won by an average of 37.4 points.

It also set up a monster clash Saturday against Carroll, which remained the highest ranked team in the Frontier at No. 5. The Saints (7-1, 6-1) and Raiders will break a first-place tie in Helena, Mont., and the winner will have the inside track to the conference's automatic berth in the 16-team NAIA Championship Series.

Rocky Mountain (6-2, 5-2) was not penalized by raters after forfeiting its Aug. 31 game against SOU last week. The Battlin' Bears, who on Saturday beat up on last-place Dickinson State, actually moved up two spots to No. 8 as the only other Frontier team in the poll.

Players honored

Southern Oregon University cross country runner Eric Avila and football player Laurence Calcagno pulled in conference player of the week recognition Monday after putting together their strongest performances of the fall season in recent days.

Avila won his second straight race for the second-ranked SOU men's team Friday at the Beaver Classic in Corvallis. His time of 24 minutes, 15 seconds cleared the field by six seconds and made him the Cascade Conference men's runner of the week.

Calcagno, a senior from Canby, became the first Raider football player this season to be recognized as the Frontier Conference's defensive player of the week for making his mark all over the stat sheet in Saturday's 51-16 win over Montana Western.

The Raiders got seven solo tackles, three assisted, two for losses, an interception and a forced fumble out of the 5-foot-11, 210-pound linebacker.

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