Home Local Sports Raiders net 4 unanswered goals in comeback victory

Raiders net 4 unanswered goals in comeback victory

James Eason (18) takes possession during Thursday's win, which resulted in two goals and an assist for the senior forward. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — An early two-goal disadvantage didn’t discourage the Richmond Raider soccer team on Thursday.

Closing out their second straight three-match week, the Raiders netted four unanswered goals to help them defeat non-conference opponent Terry Sanford High School.

Finishing with a 5-4 win over the Bulldogs, Richmond used four different goal scorers in the victory.

Senior James Eason netted a pair of goals and added an assist, bringing his team-leading goal total to eight tallies.

Seniors Samuel Hawks and Jesus Castro, along with junior Gonzalo Morales, each found the back of the net one time. 

Castro’s goal, which proved to be the game winner, was his seventh this fall. He also had an assist.

The Bulldogs (9-6-1) took a 2-0 lead through the opening 23 minutes. But Eason managed to cut the deficit in half before the break, striking a goal from 30 yards in the 27th minute.

That started a run of tallies by the Raiders, which used another goal from Eason to tie the match 2-2 in the 44th minute.

On a corner kick taken by Castro (assist), Eason made a play inside the box and used his head to redirect the ball into the net.

Five minutes later, Eason recorded his assist when he crossed the ball into the middle of the field. There to also score a header goal was Hawks, his fourth goal this season, which put the Raiders ahead 3-2 in the 49th minute.

Junior Gonzalo Morales (20) moves into position just before scoring his goal in Thursday’s win. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Capping the stretch of scoring was Morales, who took possession near midfield. Making a charge down the field, he moved around a defender and lasered a 35-yard strike that zipped under the crossbar.

That goal gave the Raiders a 4-2 lead in the 55th minute. 

Terry Sanford scored its next goal in the 66th minute on a penalty kick after Richmond was called for a foul in the box.


Castro answered less than a minute later to give the Raiders a two-goal cushion, which proved to be a pivotal score. Weaving through traffic in the attacking third, Castro finessed his way into the box and blasted a contested shot into the net.

Richmond allowed a final goal to Cristiano Sharp, who had a hat trick, with 15 seconds remaining. 

The Raiders (7-6-1, 3-3-1 SAC) have a big week next week with matches against Pinecrest and Hoke County. Up first will be a road trip to the Patriots (9-3-1, 4-1-1) on Monday at 7 p.m.

JV Raiders blank Terry Sanford

A scoreless first half of Thursday’s junior varsity soccer match ended in a 2-0 win for the JV Raiders.

Also hosting Terry Sanford, the JV Raiders used a shutout by sophomore goalkeeper Camden Williams to get back in the win column.

Scoring the first goal was freshman German Fonseca, which was followed by a strike from fellow freshman Patrick Smith. Fonseca’s goal deflected off the keeper’s hands and Smith sent a low line drive between his legs.

“We didn’t play well in the first half and I gave a pep talk at halftime that the boys responded to,” head coach Bennie Howard said. “I was pleased to see them play better in the second half and get the W.”

The JV Raiders (6-2-4, 3-1-2 SAC) will travel to Pinecrest on Monday and start at 5 p.m.

Sports editor’s note: Andy Summerlin, Chris Larsen and Bennie Howard contributed to this article.

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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.