Home Local Sports Hamilton, Hudson Highlight SAC All-Conference Soccer Team

Hamilton, Hudson Highlight SAC All-Conference Soccer Team

Evan Hudson (left) and Patrick Hamilton (right) were the only two Raiders to make the 2017 All-SAC team.
Photo courtesy of Kyle Pillar.

ROCKINGHAM – At the season’s beginning, neither Patrick Hamilton nor Evan Hudson would have imagined receiving post-season accolades, but both were named to the 2017 Sandhills Athletic Conference boys soccer all-conference team.

Both Hamilton and Hudson started the season off the bench, but became regular starters as the season progressed. As a senior, Hamilton earned his way into the starting lineup as an outside midfielder; Hudson, who is a junior, found his place as the team’s center back.

The Raiders didn’t have as successful of a season this year as they did in 2016 (in which they won the conference title). But through hard work and the desire to get better to contribute in games, Hamilton and Hudson managed to help Richmond to an 11-9-1 overall record.

“Both of these players are great selections,” head coach Bennie Howard said. “They’re well-deserving and worked really hard to get where they were at the end of the season. I couldn’t find two other finer young men to get this recognition.”

“I’m proud to have been their coach the last couple of seasons,” Howard added.




Hamilton scored six goals during his senior season, and added an assist to finish with 13 total points, which was fourth-best on the team. His work as a ball handler in the middle of the field should not go unacknowledged, as Hamilton did excellent work in maintaining possession and setting up plays.

“I had a pretty good season, as this was my fourth year playing under Coach Howard,” Hamilton said. “Being named to the SAC team is an honor and it’s exciting to go out with a bang.

“Scoring six goals was good, especially since I started the season coming off the bench,” Hamilton added. “But it was cool for me to become a regular contributor on the team.”

Howard noted that Hamilton initially came off the bench and filled in whatever side of the midfield needed help. But through his willingness to improve, Howard said Hamilton often served, “as the spark off the bench” the team needed.

“Pat became a player who could give us a spark when we needed it,” Howard said. “He never really said much and let his work do his talking. He helped us this year by being clutch and could give us a cushion when we needed it, or would get a goal that put us ahead. It’s been great being able to serve as his coach for four years.”

Hamilton acknowledged that his primary goal for the season was to come out to each practice and game to prove how much he could benefit the team.

“I knew at the beginning of the season I needed come out and try harder,” Hamilton said. “I worked harder and good things happened.”

In reflecting back on his four-year career as a Richmond soccer player, Hamilton remembers a match during his junior year where he scored a 30-yard shot against Saint Pauls. In describing it as his favorite, Hamilton said that it was one of the first moments when he had success as a varsity Raider.

“I want to thank the coaches and everyone involved in naming me to the All-SAC team,” Hamilton concluded. “It’s an honor to end my career at Richmond.”




As a center back, Hudson didn’t have too many opportunities to rip the ball at the net, but did manage to score one goal this past season. In being honest, Hudson said that he was “surprised” when he found out he had been named to the team.

“It’s an honor, but one that I wasn’t expecting as a junior defender,” Hudson said. “I started off the bench at right midfield, but Coach Howard switched me over to center back. Over the course of the season, myself and the team got better.

Hudson noted that open communication and a unique chemistry with his teammates allowed him to be successful in locking down things on his end of the field.

“When Coach Howard made the change, I knew I had to practice more to get more comfortable in my new position,” Hudson said. “But as a team, we worked hard every game, and that helped me (into my new position).”

Howard said that Hudson came off the bench initially to provide the team with more stability, regardless of what position he was playing. But it soon became apparent to Howard that Hudson could better serve as the center back and give other players the opportunity to play elsewhere. Howard also mentioned Hudson’s ability to kick a powerful free kick.

“Evan is going to be a force to be reckoned with next year as a senior,” Howard said. “He’ll have a lot of knowledge and experience that will benefit next year’s team.”


As Hudson still has a whole other year to play as a senior, his favorite memory of the season game when the Raiders beat Hoke County in the opening round of the SAC tournament this year.

“We played tougher defense, and we had a lot of emotions that game,” Hudson said. “I hope to carry that into my senior season. I’m going to work to get better and I want to be more productive next season.”

Howard, who wrapped up his final season as the boys head coach after 30 years, hopes that other players on the team who don’t put up “flashy” statistics realize that hard work, grit, talent and determination are more than good enough to get selected to the SAC team.

Below is the complete 2017 All-SAC Team and other SAC accolades:

2017 Conference Champions: Pinecrest High School (20-3-1)

Coach of the Year: Chris Fitzgerald (Pinecrest)

Co-Players of the Year: Rene Altimirano (Lumberton; Midfielder) and Haden Smith (Pinecrest; Defender)

Hoke: Nakya Davila (junior midfielder), Josue Soto-Maldonado (junior midfielder) and David Williams (junior midfielder).

Jack Britt: Weston Grant (senior midfielder), Brennen Herbert (senior midfielder), Derek Koenig (senior midfielder), Logan Quant (senior midfielder) and Gawayne Wright (junior center back).

Lumberton: Rene Altamirano (senior midfielder), Joan Carrillo (sophomore goalkeeper), Cole Lewis (senior midfielder), Connor Nemeroff (senior midfielder) and Kendric Perry (senior defender).

Pinecrest: Noah Edgerly (senior midfielder), Ryan Green (senior forward), Jimmy Kester (senior forward), Alex Miller (senior midfielder), Patrick Nieves (senior goalkeeper), Haden Smith (senior defender) and Lucas Woody (senior midfield).

Purnell Swett: Pacey Brooks (senior defender).

Scotland: Nygel Collins-Jackson (senior forward) and Donavan O’Donnell (senior defender).

Seventy-First: Jeremiah Mathis (senior forward).

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Kyle Pillar is a 22-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on X @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.