SOUTHERN PINES — Negative turnovers thwarted the Richmond Senior High School junior varsity football team’s game plan on Thursday.
On the road for the second straight week, the JV Raiders suffered their largest loss of the season in a 50-7 decision against Pinecrest High School.
The Sandhills Athletic Conference matchup went in favor of the JV Patriots from the first play of the game, a 61-yard rushing score that resulted in an early 8-0 lead after a successful two-point try.
Pinecrest scored on five of its offensive drives in the game, and added a pick-six and a punt return for a touchdown.
After the JV Raiders fumbled on their fourth play from scrimmage, Pinecrest capped its second drive with a three-yard passing score. With another two-point conversion, the home team led 16-0 with 6:22 left in the first quarter.
By the end of the opening stanza, the JV Patriots broke their lead open to 30-0.
The next score was a 68-yard punt return and two-point conversion, followed by a 15-yard passing touchdown after Richmond fumbled on its third drive of the game. The JV Patriots scored on one of their two two-point conversion attempts.
Sophomore nose tackle Esaias Brunson stalled Pinecrest’s first drive of the second quarter by recovering a fumble, one of two positive turnovers for the JV Raiders.
But that drive ended in a three-and-out with Pinecrest taking over inside its own 10-yard line after a holding penalty.
Freshman linebacker Keith Cummings was responsible for Richmond’s only score of the game. Three snaps later, Cummings intercepted a pass and returned it 17 yards to the house.
Sophomore kicker Jake Veach added the point-after attempt, cutting the JV Raiders’ deficit to 30-7 with 6:22 remaining in the second quarter.
Answering with a six-play, 47-yard scoring drive, the JV Patriots added to their lead with an eight-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was no good, giving the home team a 36-7 lead that would hold until the half.
Richmond’s final drive of the second stanza saw the offense move the ball 43 yards before an interception in the end zone resulted in a touchback.
Late in the third quarter, with Richmond at its own nine-yard line, Pinecrest intercepted a pass and returned it 25 yards for a pick-six. The two-point try was good to extend its lead to 44-7 with just over a minute to go.
Following a punt, the JV Patriots started the running clock with 5:29 left in the fourth quarter thanks to a five-yard rushing score and PAT.
Pinecrest gained 241 yards of total offense (173 rushing, 68 passing) and took advantage of four Richmond turnovers (two fumbles, two interceptions). The JV Patriots ran 31 plays, 10 fewer than Richmond.
The JV Raiders had just 95 yards of total offense in the loss (67 rushing, 28 passing). Sophomore Caden Nolan had two completions for 24 yards and freshman quarterback BJ Hinson threw two completions for four yards.
Freshman running back Elijah Ingram’s 26 rushing yards on eight attempts led the team. Nolan added 25 rushing yards on five rushes.
The JV Raiders (1-4, 1-1 SAC) return home next Thursday to host Hoke County High School. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.
Sports editor’s note: Richmond scorekeeper Reggie Till contributed to this article.