Home Local Sports Raider football program holds end-of-season awards banquet

Raider football program holds end-of-season awards banquet

Senior safety Messiah Shaw (center) is joined by Bryan Till and Rob Ransom after earning the William E. Eustler Award. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — The final down of the 2022 Richmond Raider football season was played on Thursday during the team’s annual end-of-season banquet.

Players of the junior varsity and varsity teams were joined by family members, coaches and community members to celebrate the season.

Hosted by sixth-year head coach Bryan Till, head principal Jim Butler and athletic director Rob Ramson also participated in the award ceremony.

Joining for the meal and awards were members of the Richmond County School Board, as well as personnel from the district’s central office.

The varsity Raiders finished the season 5-6 overall, just the school’s second sub-.500 record since its inaugural season in 1972. 

Finishing in a tie for second place in the Sandhills Athletic Conference with a 4-2 mark, the Raiders made the playoffs and lost a double-overtime thriller in the first round.

In JV action, Richmond was 6-3 overall and 5-1 in the SAC. The JV Raiders earned a share of the conference title with Pinecrest and Scotland high schools.

Butler opened the banquet with remarks, followed by comments from interim superintendent Dennis Quick. Ransom gave special recognition to support staff throughout the season and Till praised the coaches, players, families and Moms Club.

Each member of both teams was then called up, first by head JV coach Ryan Mercer and then the varsity team by Till.

Head coach Bryan Till introduces members of the varsity team. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Placing an emphasis on academic success, Till started the awards portion by recognizing the top five grade point averages in each class. As a program, the Raiders had a team GPA of 3.31.

The freshman class (3.67 GPA) had 15 players with over a 4.0 GPA, and the top five (in alphabetical order) were Christopher Caden, Jayden Hamilton, Evan Hodges, Robert Monroe and Jacob Veach.

Representing the sophomore class (3.21 GPA) were Gray Maultsby, Jordan Odom, Joe Parsons, Lincoln Smith and Billy West.

The juniors registered a 2.98 GPA and those recognized were Greg Allen, Zaviar Lowry, Johnny Lunceford, Jacoby Martin and Rondell Neal.

Rounding out the academic awards was the senior class’ 3.39 GPA. The top five were Tyler Berry, Tyson Holloway, Ayden Mabe, Luke McCormick and Christian Quick.

Veach (4.50), West (4.54), Lowry (4.30) and Mabe (4.71) received a plaque for having the highest GPA in their respective class.

Highest GPA (left to right): Bryan Till, Jacob Veach, Billy West, Zaviar Lowry, Ayden Mabe and Jim Butler. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Next, Till gave the eight All-Sandhills Athletic Conference honorees a certificate. They were two-time selections Holloway, Jeffery Linton, Taye Spencer and Martin, along with first-timers Emoni McBride, Messiah Shaw, Bobby Little and Parsons.

That was followed by the special teams award, given to the player who recorded the most points throughout the season. Till explained that players are graded on each play they participate in, leading to the winner.

This year’s special teams award winner was junior linebacker Marquan Martin.

“In this game, it requires guys with so many different skill types to be unselfish in so many different ways,” Till said. “(Marquan) was so unselfish and was also a defensive starter who earned almost twice as many points as the next guy.”

Special teams award winner Marquan Martin with head coach Bryan Till. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Voted on by their teammates, three seniors and a junior were named the 2022 season captains. They were seniors Holloway, Spencer and Frazion Steele, along with junior Jacoby Martin.


“In this room there are several guys who understand what it means to be a captain, but we only name four every year. These four were the top vote getters… and the guys have gotten it right the last three years.”

“It means a lot to me that our teammates thought that much about us to vote us as captains,” Holloway said. “I wanted to make sure throughout the year I held my teammates accountable and made sure they did what they were supposed to do on and off the field.

“The other three guys are like my brothers. We’ve been there all four years, worked together in the weight room and as a group we made sure the team was always accountable.”

Season captains (left to right): Frazion Steele, Jacoby Martin, Taye Spencer and Tyson Holloway. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Named for the legendary coach who was the first athletic director at Richmond, the William E. Eutsler Award was given to senior defensive back Messiah Shaw.

“This award is presented to someone who embodies the values that (Eutsler) had,” Ransom said. 

Reading from the award, Ransom continued, “It’s presented to a member of the varsity football team who, in the opinion of the coaching staff, has demonstrated by personal example and force of character his commitment to excellence on the field and integrity in his life.”

“It means everything to me,” Shaw smiled. “I’ve put in a lot of work these last four years and there were a lot of tired days. But I came in every day and worked to get better. I was able to make new memories and lifelong friendships. Being given this award is beautiful.

“To be here with my teammates one last time, it means a lot. We’ve all gone through so much together and we’ve always had a strong bond together.”

Calling the letter award the “most important” recognition given during the banquet because of its emphasis on team play, Till explained that a letterman must have “eight meaningful quarters” throughout the course of the season.

Till shared an anecdote of how he personally didn’t get a letter his sophomore year of high school and how that inspired him to finish second on the team in tackles and earn all-conference as a junior. 

He challenged his players who didn’t receive a letter to use that story to help them earn it in the future. Seniors who also played this season were given a letter.

This year’s lettermen, by class were, seniors — Tyler Berry, Jamarion Bryant, Ethan Clayton, Joey Cook, Jadden Jenks, Ayden Mabe, Luke McCormick, Londan McLaurin, Noah Preslar, Christian Quick, Wade Stephens and Isaiah Wall.

Juniors — Konner Carter, Linden Garcia, Jaliel Green, Darrius Harris, Jamison Jones, Isaiah Lockhart, Johnny Lunceford and Jacob Wall.

Sophomores and Freshman — Jordan Bostick, Zach Gardner, Bobby Little, Gray Maultsby, K’Mauri Morgan, Travion Smith, A.J. Speach, Billy West and Jayden Hamilton (freshman).

The final part of the evening was spent with the members of the senior class joining Till around the podium. 

He acknowledged the class of 2023’s dedication to the program, working through the pandemic as freshmen and sophomores and concluded by reading the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling, with each player getting a framed copy. 

“This senior class is a little bit smaller, but it tells you the determination they had through all the circumstances to get to this point,” Till closed. “I can’t tell you how proud of them I am… and these guys are going to use this knowledge the rest of their lives.”

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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.