PEMBROKE, N.C. – It wasn’t nearly as easy as last time, but the Richmond Senior High School boys varsity team defeated Sandhills Athletic Conference opponent Purnell Swett High School for the second time this season 3-0.
The Raiders (8-5, 5-3 SAC) shut out the Rams (3-7-2, 0-7) for the second straight meeting, but Wednesday’s win wasn’t as impressive as the 9-0 win in late August, which saw the mercy rule come into effect early in the second half.
Despite Purnell Swett’s winless record in the conference, Wednesday’s game was a tough defensive struggle, and head coach Bennie Howard felt that his team didn’t put forth its best effort.
“I told the team it’s always tough to play somebody after you have beaten them by a large score the first time,” Howard said. “You kind of have the mindset that it’s going to be an easy cakewalk and Purnell is not that, especially when you play at “Big Mo” stadium.”
Following a rush by the Rams at the 36-minute mark in the first half, which resulted in a senior goalkeeper Yash Patel save, the Raiders’ offense charged up the field. Senior forward Victor Lucero was fouled on the attack, and was awarded a free kick from 25 yards out. Sending a laser to the lower right corner of the goal, Lucero got the Raiders on the board, leading 1-0.
The rest of the first half would be scoreless, with Richmond missing on a few opportunities to score. The second half was more of the same until senior midfielder Patrick Hamilton broke free in the 58th minute and took a shot on goal and scored, making the score 2-0. It was Hamilton’s fourth goal in his last four games, and his fifth on the season.
“I’m proud of my goal, we needed it,” Hamilton said after the game. “We needed that second goal to build confidence for the team. I was able to beat one player, and then another, and tjust put the shot across the goal.”
With the match winding down, senior forward Jonathan Tadlock connected on a pass to teammate and senior forward Brett Baucom at the 14:21 mark to punch in the final goal of the night.
“They played well tonight, and we struggled,” Howard noted. “We had some opportunities we didn’t get that I thought we should have, but we ended up getting two in the second half that gave us the 3-0 victory and we`ll take it and move on.”
Richmond moves on to play SAC rival Pinecrest High School on the road Monday, October 2, 2017. The Patriots are 8-0 in the conference and 12-1-1 overall, and defeated Richmond 5-1 earlier this season. Junior varsity, who had the night off Wednesday, will start at 5:15 p.m., followed by varsity at 7 p.m.