Home Local Sports Five rushing TDs, stout defense pave way to JV Raiders’ first win

Five rushing TDs, stout defense pave way to JV Raiders’ first win

Freshman linebacker Jason Gainey (47) forces a fumble in the fourth quarter of the JV Raiders' win over South View. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — The first football victory of the season for Richmond Senior High School came in shutout fashion by the junior varsity team on Thursday.

Closing out their non-conference schedule against South View High School, the JV Raiders used a balanced diet of offense and defense to earn a 44-0 win.

It was also the first win of head coach Ryan Mercer’s career at Richmond, a former Raider student-athlete himself.

Racking up 303 yards of total offense, Richmond’s defense held the JV Tigers to -7 yards of offense. 

Four different JV Raiders found the end zone on the ground, including a game-high two rushing scores by sophomore running back Ali Tyson. Adding one apiece were sophomores Joseph Patterson, Javion Smith and Dillon Veach.

Freshman quarterback Evan Hodges, who made his first start of the season, tossed one touchdown pass to freshman wideout Amer Morrison, his second in two games.

Scoring on six of their eight drives, the JV Raiders made a 10-play, 80-yard march following the kickoff to take an early lead. 

Tyson and Patterson split nine of those plays on the ground, ending in a 6-yard push by Patterson to get the JV Raiders on the board. Freshman Jake Veach, who was a perfect 6-for-6 on PATs, made it 7-0 with 6:19 left in the first.

Following a turnover on downs by the JV Tigers, and a missed field goal by Richmond, the JV Raiders’ special teams unit added the next two points.

On 4th-and-32 from their own 13-yard line, the JV Tigers attempted a punt that was blocked. The ball trickled out of the back of the end zone for a safety to give Richmond a 9-0 lead early in the second quarter.

With just 22 seconds left in the first half, Hodges (3-of-5, 15 yards) completed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Morrison to extend Richmond’s lead to three possessions.

To end the second quarter, sophomore safety A.J. Covington picked off a pass, one of two interceptions in the game for Richmond.

South View (2-1) started its first drive of the second half by getting inside the JV Raiders’ 5-yard line, but Richmond’s defense made a goal-line stand. 

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Two short gains on the ground and an incomplete pass led to a pass breakup by sophomore cornerback Jarah Cook to force the turnover.

Following a pair of false start penalties and a short loss of yardage, Ali (14 carries, 149 yards) found a hole and broke loose for a 76-yard gain. That set up his first touchdown three plays later, a 3-yard score.

Wasting no time in getting the ball back, freshman linebacker Terande Spencer picked up a quarterback sack on South View’s next play from scrimmage for a 9-yard loss. 

Sophomore linebacker Fred Isaac dropped into coverage a down later, intercepting the ball and returning it 31 yards to the South View 2-yard line.

Consecutive runs by Tyson resulted in another 3-yard touchdown run. Jake Veach’s extra point made it a 30-0 lead, a score that would hold until the end of the third.

A short field on Richmond’s next drive paved the way for Dillon Veach to score an 18-yard rushing touchdown, rolling out to his left before running up the middle of the field.

The final of Richmond’s three forced turnovers on defense came five plays into South View’s next drive. Freshman linebacker Jason Gainey blitzed through the line unblocked and stripped the ball from the quarterback.

Sophomore defensive end Gage Stewart was there to fall on the ball at the JV Tigers’ 49-yard line.

Milking the clock, Richmond ran seven straight running plays, the final of which was a 6-yard score by Smith with 1:02 left in regulation. That started the running clock, which ended the game.

Patterson finished the game with 81 yards on nine carries, Smith had 39 yards on three touches and Tyson and four other players combined for Richmond’s 288 rushing yards.

The JV Raiders (1-2) will open Sandhills Athletic Conference play next Thursday against Southern Lee High School. 

Kickoff between Richmond and the JV Cavaliers is set for 6:30 p.m. at Raider Stadium.

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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.