Home Local Sports ‘Progress’ made for Raiders in loss to No. 5 Cardinal Gibbons

‘Progress’ made for Raiders in loss to No. 5 Cardinal Gibbons

Senior wide receiver Javian Drake dives into the end zone in the second quarter of Friday's game. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — There were positives that came out of Friday’s Week 3 non-conference game for the Richmond Raider football team head coach Bryan Till stated afterward.

The Raiders, who had hoped to break into the win column, suffered their third straight loss of the season, albeit Till noted progression in a lot of areas.

Playing at home for the second time, the Raiders fell to No. 5 Cardinal Gibbons High School 26-9.

Playing one of their best halves of football this fall, the Raiders capitalized twice in the first two quarters and held the lead two different times.

“There was a ton of progress,” Till said. “I saw areas where we played better, but there are also things we need to get better at. We have to continue to push for that.

“I was pleased with the fight of the kids and the understanding of different situations. Domonic (Tillman), in particular, made some plays out of nothing. Their effort, where their hearts and focus was, I was pleased with that.

“It’s really easy when something goes wrong after being 0-2, but our kids kept on doing the right thing. That’s a testament to their families, themselves and their position coaches to understand what it takes to be successful.”

Friday was also “Orange Night” at Raider Stadium, which was flooded with the color to support athletic trainer Mitch Hadinger and his current battle with leukemia. Donations were collected by several of the school’s student organizations to benefit Hadinger and his family.

During halftime, public address announcer Jim Butler introduced five of Hadinger’s seven children, who were greeted on the field by athletic director Mike Way.

Members of the Hadinger family wave to the crowd while being recognized at halftime. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Richmond went three-and-out to start the game but the defense was quick to force a turnover on downs. With the Crusaders facing a fourth-and-eight at Richmond’s 31-yard line, junior linebacker K’Mauri Morgan made the stop on Aiden Smalls out of bounds. 

After both teams punted on their next respective drive, the Raiders nabbed the first of their two leads in the first half. 

Taking advantage of a short field starting at the Cardinal Gibbons 40-yard line, junior kicker Billy West capped a five-play drive with his first field goal of the season. 

On the snap from junior Gray Maultsby and the hold by junior Dillon Veach, West split the uprights for a career-long 36-yard field goal. 

The 3-0 lead with 30 seconds left in the first quarter was Richmond’s first lead this season. 

On their next drive, the Crusaders answered with a score and a successful two-point conversion. Using some trickery, Smalls threw a 16-yard flea flicker touchdown pass to quarterback Whitt Newbauer. 

The conversion was completed by Nic Leonard to Brady Dolan to make it an 8-3 lead less than two minutes into the second stanza. 

Setting up the Raiders’ second score two possessions later was junior linebacker Zy Martin. He sacked Newbauer on third-and-long at the Cardinal Gibbons’ 13-yard line for an eight-yard loss.

Using good field position again following a short punt, the Raiders went 34 yards on four plays to regain the lead. 

This time it was a 17-yard pass over the middle from sophomore quarterback Domonic Tillman to senior wide receiver Javian Drake. 

Catching the ball at the seven-yard line, Drake broke several would-be tackles and dove across the goal line for the score. It was his second receiving touchdown in two games and Tillman’s first career touchdown pass.


The point-after attempt was wide right, but Richmond held a 9-8 advantage with 4:04 left in the second. 

The Crusaders capitalized on their next drive to take a 16-9 lead into halftime. Amir Brown scored on a one-yard rush to his right. 

Leonard took a direct snap to run in the two-point play with 27 ticks on the clock. 

The second half leaned in favor of Cardinal Gibbons (2-1), which scored on its first two drives of the final two quarters. 

A 19-yard rushing score by Newbauer down the left sideline, coupled with a successful PAT, was followed by a 23-yard field goal from Ben Barrangou. 

Newbauer’s score made it 23-9 with 8:46 left in the third, and Barrangou added the final points of the game less than a minute into the fourth.

Richmond’s four second-half drives ended in a punt, an interception and back-to-back turnovers on downs, respectively.

The Raiders’ penultimate drive saw them get down to the Crusaders’ 15-yard line, but penalties, sacks and a high snap put them in a fourth-and-30 situation.

“There are still some self-inflicted wounds,” Till explained. “Some of the big runs they had were because we weren’t exactly where we were supposed to be. On offense we still have some things we need to clean up.”

Junior linebacker Zy Martin, who had a sack, tackles Braylon Peebles during Friday’s game. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Cardinal Gibbons recorded 429 yards of total offense (260 rushing yards, 169 passing yards), while Richmond accounted for 124 yards of offense (63 passing yards, 61 rushing yards).

Newbauer was 14-of-23 for 153 yards, Tillman finished 9-of-15 for 55 yards and sophomore Evan Hodges, who played part of the last series, was 1-for-1 for eight yards.

Leonard led all rushers with 110 yards on 17 carries, Brown added 83 yards on 11 rushes and Richmond’s leading rusher was senior tailback Jaliel Green with 55 yards on 12 touches. Tillman chipped in 53 rushing yards on 13 carries.

Drake, who was targeted eight times, hauled in seven receptions for 43 yards and a score. Seniors Linden Garcia and Jada Zimmerman, along with sophomore Jayden Hamilton, each caught a pass and combined for 20 yards.

“There’s not a lot that needs to be changed, there are just things we have to do better,” Till closed. “We have to understand some situations better and some of the effort stuff isn’t wrong, it just takes us backwards.

“The effort is still great and we need to keep that. That’s what’s tough. We don’t want to lose effort, but continue to gain execution out of it.”

Now 0-3, the Raiders will close out their gauntlet of a non-conference schedule next Friday on the road.

Richmond will travel to Myers Park High School (0-3) for the teams’ first meeting since the fourth round of the NCHSAA 4A state playoffs in 2019. It will be the Raiders’ first game against an unranked opponent this season.

Per Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ policy, kickoff will get underway at 7 p.m. 

The Richmond Observer will publish a photo gallery of Richmond’s third game of the season soon.

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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.