MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. — The Raider Elite 13U and 10U football teams kicked off their respective 7-on-7 seasons this weekend.
Playing for the Amatuer Athletic Union, the two squads of future Richmond Senior High School players traveled to Mountain Island Charter School. The 10U team, coached by Mike Littles, went 2-0 on the afternoon, while John Carter’s 13U crew split with a 1-1 record.
No official scores for any of the games were reported.
Like the varsity (18U) and junior varsity (15U) Raider Elite teams, which opened their season in the Blazing 7-on-7 league in Weddington Saturday, the youth Raiders follow the same modified rules for their league.
Playing on a 40-yard field, teams get three downs instead of four to make a first down, and have to go 15 yards instead of 10 yards. There are two possibilities to get a first down on a drive, and scoring plays count for six points.
A one-point (5-yard line) or two-point (10-yard line) conversion can be attempted. Interceptions on defense count for three points, while a defensive stop and turnover on downs results in two points. There is no tackling, as players are considered “down” following a two-hand touch tackle.
10U Raiders earn two wins behind total team effort
In their first game the 10U Raiders defeated 9U GTOP, and followed with another impressive win over the 11U QC Seminoles.
Tre Blakeney had one passing touchdown, a receiving touchdown and added an interception on defense. Mikyi Littles led the defense with three picks for nine points, while also scoring one receiving touchdown. It was noted that Josh Small also made “a great catch” to help the Raiders.
Krishawn Smith accounted for one touchdown and one interception, TJ Watkins notched a receiving touchdown and made good on a two-point conversion. Damarion Allen connected twice to his receivers in the end zone for a score, while Josiah Gilbert rounded out the day’s scoring with a touchdown.
“All the kids played good,” Mike Littles said. “We started off slow but the defense stepped up really big when it mattered. The offense is starting to come together and put points on the board.”
13U Raiders split season opening weekend
Up first for the 13U team were the Mountain Island Hawks, which resulted in a loss. The Raider Elite squad rebounded in game two, holding on to defeat the North Side Chargers.
“In our first game against the Hawks, I think our guys were nervous and had to adjust to the 7-on-7 style of play,” Carter, also one of the founders of the program, said. “In the second game, our boys calmed down and managed to get the win.”
Carter said the win came in part thanks to “two big interceptions,” one each from Zack Gardner and Jarah Cooke. He also tipped his cap to Kmauri Morgan and Cam Smith for playing “good defense.”
On offense, quarterbacks Fred Isaac and Dillon Veach each threw touchdown passes. Those passes were completed to Keonta Pegues, Harlee Williams and Cook.
“All in all, I was very proud of our boys,” Carter closed. “We learned what we need to work on. I’m looking forward to a good season.”