Home Local Sports Raiders shut out by reigning 4A state champion Cardinal Gibbons

Raiders shut out by reigning 4A state champion Cardinal Gibbons

Head coach Bryan Till meets with players during Richmond's loss to Cardinal Gibbons on Friday. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

RALEIGH — The first win of the season eluded the Richmond Senior High School football team for the third straight week on Friday.

Playing in the first of four consecutive road games, the Raiders traveled to reigning 4A state champion Cardinal Gibbons High School, which is currently ranked as the No. 5 team in the East according to HighSchoolOT’s rankings.

Both teams entered the game winless, but it was the Crusaders who emerged as victors, shutting out the Raiders 31-0.

In a game marred by penalties by both teams, Richmond’s offensive woes continued. The Raiders managed just 124 yards of total offense (85 rushing yards, 39 passing yards) to Cardinal Gibbons’ 363 yards of total offense.

Yellow flags littered the field during all four quarters, with the Crusaders racking up 13 penalties for 142 yards. Richmond had 12 penalties for 122 yards.

“There were a lot of penalties on both sides and a sloppy game by two typically really good programs,” head coach Bryan Till said. “We made a lot more mistakes than they did when it came to the execution of offense and defense.”

Richmond won the turnover battle early in the first quarter, forcing and recovering fumbles on two of Cardinal Gibbons’ first three drives. 

The first came when sophomore linebacker Bobby Little knocked down junior quarterback Whitt Newbauer inside the Richmond 25-yard line on the opening drive. The ball hit the turf and was fallen on by senior nose tackle Urijah McDonald to stall the Crusaders.

Senior Urijah McDonald (99) lands on a fumble early in the first quarter. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

A three-and-out by the Raiders led to Cardinal Gibbons’ first score, a 6-yard pass from Newbauer to Landen Lawrence. The extra point was good to give the home team a 7-0 lead with 4:09 left in the first.

Richmond’s second drive was also a three-and-out, resulting in one of the team’s nine punts in the game.

The second fumble recovery came in the red zone when running back Joey Jonske had the ball knocked loose by a swarm of defenders. There to pick it up and thwart the drive was senior linebacker Zyion Baldwin.

Early in the second quarter, Newbauer threw the second of his three passing touchdowns, this one an 11-yard toss to Chet Yardley. Following the PAT, the Crusaders led 14-0 with 10:44 left before the half.

Richmond’s offense never crossed into Cardinal Gibbons’ territory in the first half, kicking it away on all six drives through the opening two frames.

With 1:40 left before the intermission, Daniel Monti added a 26-yard field goal to give the Crusaders (1-2) a 17-0 halftime lead.

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The Raiders received the opening kick of the third quarter and got across midfield for the first time following a 51-yard return by senior Jamarion Bryant. 

Senior running back Taye Spencer broke loose for a 10-yard gain to move to the sticks, but the drive ended in a punt.

Three plays into the Crusaders’ next drive, Newbauer (15-of-24, 221 yards) found Lawrence (7 catches, 114 yards) for a 64-yard touchdown down the left sideline. The extra point extended Cardinal Gibbons’ lead to 24-0.

Just over four minutes later, Joshua Stoneking scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown, capping a six-play, 55-yard drive for the game’s final tally with 3:56 left in the third.

Richmond’s final four possessions resulted in a turnover on downs at the Cardinal Gibbons’ 21-yard line, the team’s deepest drive, an interception, a punt and the game clock expiring.

Sophomore Bobby Little receives the Raiders’ “turnover belt” after forcing a fumble. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Senior quarterback Emoni McBride had two completions for 39 yards, with one of them going to sophomore wide receiver Raymond Knotts for 37 yards.

Spencer led the ground attack with 84 rushing yards on a dozen carries, and junior quarterback Zaviar Lowry picked up 19 rushing yards on two running plays late in the game.

“I am a little disappointed not to see us handle certain situations better given that it’s week three,” Till said. “Things like getting lined up, missing signals and then running plays and not knowing what everybody is running.

“That’s the stuff that’s got to be cleaned up and I’ve honestly got to take the blame for that. As the head coach, I have to eat that and say look, I’m not doing something in practice. I’ve got to fix something in practice so that our kids are getting prepared. 

“At this point, it’s not because we’re a young team, it’s because I’m missing something that I’ve got to go back and find. That’s my job and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Richmond, falling to 0-3 for the first time in program history, will have another shot to enter the win column when it closes out its non-conference schedule next Friday. 

The Raiders will travel to South View High School (0-2) and kick off at 7:30 p.m. In 2021, the Raiders earned a 23-15 win over the Tigers.

The Richmond Observer will publish a preview article for next Friday’s away game later in the week.

The Richmond Observer will publish a photo gallery of Friday’s game over the weekend. For updates on all Richmond County sports, follow us on Twitter @ROSports_.

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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.