Home Local Sports SEASON PREVIEW: Mix of experience, newcomers to guide Raiders this winter

SEASON PREVIEW: Mix of experience, newcomers to guide Raiders this winter

Senior William White is a four-year bowler who will lead the Raiders this season. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — A different look to the Richmond Senior High School boys’ bowling team isn’t deterring the Raiders from wanting to be competitive this winter.

A new season of high school bowling begins on Thursday and the Raiders will look to adjust to a modified roster. Losing five multi-year starters to graduation, a few returners and an influx of new talent will guide the team.

In what fifth-year head coach Ralph Butler called a “transition year,” the Raiders will look to build off of their fourth-place finish in the Sandhills Athletic Conference championship from a year ago. 

During the regular season, the Raiders were the second-place team.

Gone are former contributors Cody Eason, Alston Johnson, Dexter Mabe, Cameron Way and Colin Wheeler, who was the lone Raider to make All-Conference last year.

With several gaps to fill, the Raiders will rely on four-year starter William White, who is the team’s most experienced bowler as he enters his senior season.

Of the 12 players on the roster, there are only two other returning bowlers aside from White. They are sophomores Garret Mabe and Sam Thompson, both of whom saw some playing time as freshmen.

In last year’s SAC singles championship, White missed the top 10 by 12 pins with a score of 469, and both Garret Mabe (454) and Thompson (420) were in the mix.

New this winter are seniors Jullian Cline, Dustin Dorey and James Eason, junior Landon Taylor, sophomores Jed Davis and Landon Summerlin, and freshmen Azariah Daniel, Owen Hancock and Jake Richardson.

Richmond, and the six other SAC teams, will bowl against each other twice during the regular season. All matches will follow the Baker format, which will see five bowlers roll two frames apiece during each match.

Rolling four games, a point is awarded for each victory. The team that has the highest pin total will also receive another point for a possibility of five points, which determines the conference standings.

Despite the more inexperienced roster from the last couple of seasons, Butler said he’s been impressed by the improvements shown by the team over the last couple of weeks. The Raiders have practiced multiple times a week at Striker’s Bowling Center in preparation for the new season.

One key factor he believes will lead to a successful campaign is for the Raiders to bowl with consistency. Butler also anticipates the likes of Pinecrest and Scotland high schools to be tough opponents this season.

A season ago, the Raiders averaged a game score of 178.9 pins, and also averaged an impressive 631.4 pins per match.


The Raiders officially begin their regular season on Thursday at the Sandhills Bowling Center in Aberdeen. Richmond will face Southern Lee and Pinecrest, starting at 4 p.m.

The Richmond Observer will continue its coverage of the Richmond boys’ bowling team this winter. 

Below is the complete 2022-23 schedule for the Raiders. All matches are against SAC opponents and will be played in either Aberdeen or Laurinburg, beginning at 4 p.m.

Dec. 1 vs. Southern Lee, Pinecrest (Aberdeen)

Dec. 8 vs. Hoke County, Union Pines (Laurinburg)

Dec. 15 vs. Lee County, Bye (Aberdeen)

Jan. 5 vs. Scotland, Southern Lee (Laurinburg)

Jan. 12 vs. Pinecrest, Hoke County (Aberdeen)

Jan. 19 vs. Union Pines, Lee County (Laurinburg)

Jan. 26 vs. Scotland, Bye

Feb. 8 SAC individual and team championships

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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.