Home Local Sports 8 Raiders named to All-SAC football team

8 Raiders named to All-SAC football team

Joe Parsons (44), Messiah Shaw (16) and Taye Spencer (1) were three of Richmond's All-SAC selections. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — The 2022 3A/4A All-Sandhills Athletic Conference football team was released over the weekend, seeing eight Richmond Raiders make the postseason roster.

Several of the SAC’s teams made it to the second round of the state playoffs and the 50-player team was released following Lee County’s departure from the 3A bracket on Saturday.

Richmond had four offensive players and four defensive players selected, and half of the Raiders were named to their second All-SAC team. Those players were seniors Tyson Holloway, Jeffery Linton and Taye Spencer, along with junior Jacoby Martin.

Earning the recognition for the first time were seniors Emoni McBride and Messiah Shaw, joined by sophomores Bobby Little and Joe Parsons.

Regular-season conference champion Pinecrest High School had 12 players named, while Lee County and Scotland matched Richmond’s eight selections. 

Hoke County earned six selections and both Southern Lee and Union Pines had four players make the team.

“It’s big that the other coaches in the conference recognize what these guys can do and appreciate what they brought to the table this season,” head coach Bryan Till said. “With the voting situation, there are also some other guys who may have made it but it gets tough. 

“We built this season around our returning players, and especially those (four) who made All-Conference for the second time. It’s not a surprise to us,” he continued. “And for the new guys, it speaks about the amount of growth from non-conference to conference play.

“You look at Emoni’s development and the decision making by our offensive coaching that helped him, and it was an emotional deal when Bobby was announced. It’s great to know that the other coaches respected what he did and the numbers he put up with incredible toughness in his situation.”

Offensive Players: Holloway, Linton, McBride and Spencer

One of two quarterbacks chosen, McBride finished his first year as Richmond’s starter with 1,265 passing yards, 91-of-194 passing for 115.0 yards per game and was the SAC’s leader with 14 passing touchdowns.

Also a dual threat, McBride added 274 rushing yards on 70 attempts for 5 touchdowns, putting him in the top three amongst the conference’s quarterbacks. He threw a career-high 3 passing scores twice (Lee County, Scotland), completed a career-high 14 passes for 169 yards against Union Pines and spread his five rushing scores over five different games.

Senior quarterback Emoni McBride (5) was a dual-threat for the Raiders this season. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Spencer proved to be another high-scoring offensive weapon for the Raiders, combining his speed and power to cap his career with his second selection in as many seasons. He ran for 1,282 rushing yards on 210 carries (both third in the SAC) and added 12 rushing scores (tied fifth).

Adding to the offense, Spencer was also Richmond’s leading receiver this season with 21 catches for 337 yards and 4 touchdowns. His 202 rushing yards, 297 all-purpose yards and 3 total scores against South View were career-highs and he went over 100 all-purpose yards in eight games.

Senior running back Taye Spencer (1) eludes a defender during his career night against South View. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Holloway (right tackle) and Linton (left tackle) both served as protectors of the ball along the front line in their final season. Bookending the offensive line, Holloway also played defensive line during some games and Linton filled in at center throughout the season.

The effort of the two offensive linemen provided a physical front that helped create time and space for Richmond to average 24.5 points per game this fall. The Raiders moved the ball for 2,069 rushing yards this season (188.1 yards per game) and 1,295 passing yards (117.7 yards per game).

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Linton has verbally committed to Tusculum University and Holloway currently has several offers from schools across the state. Spencer also has an offer from St. Andrews University.

Senior right tackle Tyson Holloway (75) stops a defender in a win over Lee County. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)
Senior left tackle Jeffery Linton (77) blocks during Richmond’s road game at Pinecrest. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Defensive Players: Little, Martin, Parsons and Shaw

Earning his first career nod after completing his second full varsity season, Parsons was Richmond’s leading tackler through 11 games this fall. At linebacker, Parsons’ draw to the ball led to 78 total tackles (57 solo, 21 assists), making him the fifth-best tackler in the SAC.

Parsons averaged 7.1 tackles per four quarters and had a career-high 15 tackles against Scotland in the regular-season finale. His 3.0 quarterback sacks were second on the team and he provided blocking as a tiger back on offense, leading to one catch for 5 yards.

Sophomore linebacker Joe Parsons (44) records one of his career-high 15 tackles against Scotland. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

As the lone returning Raider on the defensive side of the ball, Martin completed his second varsity season as an imposing threat at defensive end. He was fourth on the team with 46 total tackles (20 solo, 26 assists) and added 2.0 sacks.

Also a tiger back, Martin averaged 4.2 tackles per game, had 6.0 total tackles for loss and registered a career-high 8 tackles against Lee County. He also intercepted a pass in the season opener and caught a receiving touchdown against Union Pines.

Junior defensive end Jacoby Martin (94) records a sack during a game against Butler early in the season. (Kyle Pillar, The Richmond Observer)

Stepping up to fill in one of several spots left open in the secondary this season, Shaw proved to be Richmond’s biggest turnover machine with 4 interceptions, second in the SAC. At safety, Shaw collected picks against Mount Tabor, South View, Pinecrest and Lee County.

He was also second on the team in passes defensed, knocking away five passes in 11 games. Shaw added 28 total tackles (19 solo, 9 assists), recorded 3.0 TFL and solidified the safety position when fellow senior Emerson Wall suffered a season-ending injury.

Little, whom Till called “one of the toughest people on the planet,” saw his first varsity season as a starting linebacker come to an unexpected end in Week 10. Diagnosed with leukemia, Little played in 9 games for the Raiders and still finished tied for third in the SAC with 7.0 quarterback sacks, the most on the Raiders’ roster.

Adding 47 total tackles (37 solo, 10 assists), Little was also first on the team with 14.0 tackles for loss. He had 3.0 TFL in three straight games, recorded a career-high 8 tackles against Union Pines and had 3.0 sacks in a victory over Hoke County on homecoming. Little was also responsible for causing two fumbles.

Senior safety Messiah Shaw (16) collects one of his four interceptions this season against Mount Tabor. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)
Sophomore linebacker Bobby Little (34) receives the turnover belt during a game at Cardinal Gibbons. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Earning the SAC’s “Offensive Player of the Year” was running back B.J. Brown (Lee County), Pinecrest’s Jaiden Baptist was “Defensive Player of the Year” and the Patriots’ Nick Eddins was named “Coach of the Year.”

Richmond finished the 2022 season with a 5-6 overall record and tied with Scotland for second place in the SAC regular-season standings. The Raiders made the 4A East state playoffs but were eliminated in a 36-33 double overtime loss at Holly Springs in the first round.

Note: Stats used in this article were taken from MaxPreps.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.