Saturday, 25 September 2021 00:23

Resilient Raiders score 21 unanswered points to edge Pinecrest on Senior Night

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Senior wide receiver Javares Stanback (13) finds open field during his 28-yard touchdown in Richmond's win over Pinecrest. Senior wide receiver Javares Stanback (13) finds open field during his 28-yard touchdown in Richmond's win over Pinecrest. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — On a night dedicated to honoring the class of 2022’s contributions to the Richmond Raider football program, several senior players helped Richmond erase a halftime deficit to defeat Pinecrest High School to begin Sandhills Athletic Conference play.


Nothing short of a playoff-like atmosphere between the No. 4 Raiders and No. 6 Patriots, Richmond scored 21 unanswered points and blanked Pinecrest in the second half to earn a 28-21 win.

It was the second straight game the Raiders followed a similar script, going down early before gritting their way back. Richmond also erased a 12-point deficit against South View High School two weeks ago.

Ahead of the game, the Raiders and head coach Bryan Till recognized the program’s 22 senior players, along with five cheerleaders. At halftime, members of the marching band and color guard were also honored.

Members of the senior class line up during the coin toss. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

On Friday, the Raiders trailed 21-7 at halftime, the second most first-half points they’ve allowed to Pinecrest in the 44 all-time meetings. 

But a trick play, a special goal line package and a crucial strip fumble in the final minute were just a few of the plays that helped the Raiders power back.

“These kids and the coaches keep plugging along and keep fighting,” Till said. “A microcosm of the whole season is the play that Kellan (Hood) makes at the end of the game where we make a mistake and we fumble the ball. But the effort to go overcome the mistake and get the ball back is incredible.

“We’re still not playing our best brand of football, but the kids don’t quit and that’s what you see.”

Pinecrest opened the game with an 11-play, 40-yard scoring drive that resulted in senior running back Xavier Dowd rushing the ball in from four yards out. A successful point after attempt put the Patriots up 7-0 with 7:41 left in the opening quarter.

Penalties and poor field position forced the Raiders to punt on two of their three opening drives in the first half, but the first of two passing touchdowns by senior quarterback Kellan Hood tied the game on Richmond’s second series.

A 10-play, 74-yard march ended in a 19-yard touchdown pass from Hood to junior running back Taye Spencer. Hood connected with Spencer in the left flat on a screen pass, and Spencer tip-toed down the sideline and into the end zone.

Senior kicker Alex Medina split the uprights to knot the game 7-7 with 8:53 left in the second quarter.

Junior Taye Spencer (21) runs down the left sideline en route to his touchdown in the first quarter. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

A long kickoff return by the Patriots put them at the Richmond 15-yard line and scored six plays later to retake the lead. Junior running back Nahjiir Seagraves rounded the right edge to score from six yards on the ground. 

Another PAT put the visiting Patriots ahead 14-7 just over two minutes after Richmond tied the game.

Following a Richmond punt on the next drive, Pinecrest scored its final points of the game using a short field from the Raiders’ 40-yard line.

Sophomore quarterback Mason Konen, who went 6-for-15 through the air for 50 passing yards, found senior Cullen Martin in the back corner of the end zone for an 18-yard score. 

Braden Cole’s PAT was good and the Patriots led 21-7 with 3:22 left before the intermission, which would hold until the break.

The second half was all Richmond, which used a balance between its offense, defense and special teams units to quiet the Patriots’ offense.

On its opening drive to start the second half, the Raiders were facing a 4th-and-7 at their own 45-yard line. Lined up to punt, Richmond called a fake, which resulted in a first down and was a moment Till said helped swing the momentum. 

A direct snap to senior Gabe Altman turned into a reverse play to a sweeping Jaleak Gates, who ran the ball down to the Pinecrest 38-yard line.

Three plays later, Hood connected with senior wide receiver Javares Stanback for a 28-yard touchdown pass. Running a crossing route over the middle, Stanback caught one of his game-high four catches for his first touchdown of the season.

Medina’s PAT was true and Richmond pulled within one score, 21-14, with 7:06 remaining in the third quarter.

On the ensuing drive, the Raider defense forced a three-and-out and the first of three consecutive punts by the Patriots.

“Getting that drive and the fake punt, the credit goes to Coach (Brad) Denson,” Till said. “I said do you want to fake this, and he was all in. He had to convince me and twist my arm a little bit because it was fourth-and-eightish. 

“That was big because we went down and scored and the subsequent stop was huge. Even though we didn’t score immediately (in the first half), the field position change to get it back in the second half and give ourselves a chance to score was huge.”

Two offensive drives later, the Raiders tied the game just 1:14 into the fourth quarter. Hood, who had a game-high 164 rushing yards on 24 carries, added runs of 26 and 15 yards to move the ball inside the 10-yard line.

After a short gain, Spencer recorded his second score of the game, this one a 6-yard rush around the right edge on a pitch from Hood. Medina’s third PAT knotted the game at 21 points.

Pinecrest’s offensive woes continued on the next drive, resulting in another punt. On 2nd-and-15, defensive backs Kelay Lindsey and Zyion Baldwin broke up a pass from Konen intended for Hunter Neifert.

It took the Raiders just three plays to go 77 yards and score the game-winning touchdown. A six-yard pass to senior wideout Cason Douglas was followed by a 70-yard scamper by Hood, who dove for the end zone but landed at the one-yard line.

Senior Kellan Hood extends for the end zone following a 70-yard running play. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Senior J.D. Lampley, who plays defensive end, got the call on first-and-goal. Taking a handoff from Hood, Lampley bullied his way through the line and dove into the end zone for his first career touchdown.

Medina capped his perfect night on PATs and gave the Raiders a 28-21 advantage with 7:29 to play. On the kickoff, Medina made a touchdown-saving tackle on Diondre Morman to make the Patriots start their drive at midfield.

Pinecrest made it to the Richmond 10-yard line, but Konen fumbled the ball and recovered it on 4th-and-5, resulting in a turnover on downs.

With 61 seconds on the clock, and at their own 17-yard line, the Raiders fumbled the ball. Scooping it up was a Pinecrest defensive lineman, but Hood stripped the ball from his grasp and Spencer fell on top of it at the two-yard line.

Richmond ran out the clock to secure the win, extending its streak to eight straight over the Patriots (3-2, 0-1 SAC) and improving to 41-3 all-time against its Moore County neighbor.

“We love these kids so much and for them to be able to finish and come back and get that win in this case was huge,” Till closed. “Senior Night is always special… and we want to tell them thank you.”

Senior J.D. Lampley (55) celebrates after scoring the game-winning touchdown. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

The Raiders recorded 384 yards of total offense compared to Pinecrest’s 125 yards of offense. Richmond secured 251 yards on the ground from five different players, and the Raider defense held the Patriots to just 75 rushing yards.

Hood connected with four different receivers to go 8-for-16 through the air with 133 yards and two touchdowns. Stanback’s four catchers registered 98 receiving yards. 

Spencer had 50 rushing yards on seven carries and senior Nasir Crumpton added 23 yards on nine carries.

Richmond (4-1, 1-0 SAC) will look to earn back-to-back 4A SAC wins when it travels to Hoke County High School (2-4, 0-2 SAC) next Friday. Kickoff from Raeford is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

VIDEO INTERVIEWS — Click the links below to hear from players and coaches following Friday's win.

Seniors Jaleak Gates and Kelay Lindsey

Senior J.D. Lampley and junior Taye Spencer

Seniors Kellan Hood and Javares Stanback

Head coach Bryan Till

SENIOR SEND OFF

Recognized before the game were Richmond’s five senior cheerleaders: Stephanie Alvarado, Lauren Hudson, Cheyenne Leviner, Marley Moss and Lexi Watson.

Members of the Richmond band and color guard were also honored at halftime: Zachary Ammons; Anna Blair; E'Myahh Goodwin; Riley Greer; Precis Reid; Coy Rierson; Autumn Sheppard; Shakyma Stanback and Deasia Steele.

Below is a list of Richmond’s football seniors, in order by jersey number:

Jaleak Gates, DB (1); Cason Douglas, WR (2); Chris Ellerbe, WR (3); Trey Thomas, WR (4); Gabe Altman, LB (6); Kellan Hood, QB (7); Jaylan McDonald, WR (8); Kelay Lindsey, DB (11); Javares Stanback, WR (13); Mikey Baldwin, LB (19); Nasir Crumpton, RB (20); Bryan Stevens, DB (29); Ke’Sean Ingram, LB (39); Jordan Carlyle, DL (50); Justin Colon, OL (51); J.D. Lampley, DE (55); Braxton Butler, OL (65); Jaiden Covington, OL (68); Lance Shepherd, OL (71); Tomas Kvapil, WR (83); Alex Medina, K (85) and Ahmad Morrison, DL (98).

The Richmond Observer will publish a photo gallery of Friday’s game and senior night on Saturday. For updates on all Richmond County sports, follow us on Twitter @ROSports_.

Last modified on Saturday, 25 September 2021 09:56
Kyle Pillar

Nine-time N.C. Press Association award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

Twitter: ROSports_