Home Local Sports Second-half rally against Hoke County spurs JV Raiders to third-straight win

Second-half rally against Hoke County spurs JV Raiders to third-straight win

Freshman wide receiver Raymond Knotts (29) eludes two defenders on his 59-yard touchdown catch and run.
Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — Erasing a one-point halftime deficit, the Richmond Senior High School junior varsity football team rallied to earn its third consecutive win on Thursday.

Hosting Hoke County in Week 2 of Sandhills Athletic Conference play, the JV Raiders used a strong second half to defeat the Bucks 29-14.

Richmond and head coach Patrick Hope outscored Hoke County 22-6 in the final two quarters to improve to 3-3 overall and 2-0 against SAC opponents.

The Bucks took an early 2-0 lead after a punt attempt was blocked and Richmond recovered it in the end zone for a safety.

Sophomore Isaiah Lockhart answered with a touchdown run from inside the five-yard line with 6:11 left in the second quarter. Freshman kicker Billy West tacked on the point after attempt to put the Raiders ahead 7-2.

In the closing minute of the first half, Hoke County jumped ahead with a long touchdown pass. The conversion attempt was no good, which gave the Bucks an 8-7 lead at the break.

Sophomore Isaiah Lockhart (5) runs the ball for a big gain during Thursday’s win. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

“It was a tail of two halves,” Hope said. “There were a lot of self-inflicted wounds by us early. We felt really good about how we played the last two weeks and we warned the guys all week Hoke County was going to come out ready to play.

“We just didn’t match the energy in the first half, and were down a point. That’s a spot we’ve been in before, but we overcame it and made some smart plays in the second half.”

Early in the third quarter, sophomore defensive back Rashad Gilbert made an interception to give Richmond the ball at its own 15-yard line. On the first play, Lockhart carried the ball 52 yards to the Hoke County 33-yard line.

That set up a score a couple of plays later on a pitch from freshman quarterback Dillon Veach to sophomore tailback Jaliel Greene. Going to the right, Green caught the toss and rounded the edge to score from nine yards out.

The PAT was good from West and Richmond took a 14-8 lead with 5:52 left in the third.

The JV Raiders next points would come on a safety created by sophomore Lareese Swinnie on a blocked punt just 45 seconds into the fourth quarter. 

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With Hoke County backed up at its own 9-yard line, Swinnie swatted the ball down and it bounced out of the end zone to extend Richmond’s lead to 16-8.

Sophomore Lareese Swinnie (21) blocks a punt for a safety during the fourth quarter. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Freshman wide receiver Raymond Knotts found the end zone on the ensuing drive, catching a 59-yard touchdown pass from Veach. On a crossing route over the middle, Knotts caught the ball near midfield before bursting down the left sideline for the score.

Another West PAT was true and the Raiders jumped ahead 23-8 with 9:58 remaining in the game.

After Hoke County was forced to punt, Veach tossed his second touchdown pass of the game, this one to freshman Javion Smith. Moving out of the right flat, Smith caught the ball and worked down the sideline and into the end zone.

Despite a botched PAT attempt, the JV Raiders held a commanding 29-8 lead with 8:06 left in regulation.

Both teams traded possessions the rest of the game, until Hoke County scored on a touchdown pass with 28.6 seconds to go. The conversion was no good and Richmond ran out the clock for the win.

Sophomore Rashad Gilbert (4) shows off his interception in the third quarter. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

“Isaiah sparked us in the second half, and Dillon did a better job with some of his reads in the running-passing game,” Hope explained. “We were able to get Raymond and Javion a score, and that opened things up for us. Our special teams and defense also played great.

“Jaleil’s score, and then Raymond’s touchdown, were turning points for us. After the safety, we needed another shot to put it out of reach and that is where the pass to Javion came in.”

The JV Raiders will look for their fourth-straight win next Thursday at home against Union Pines High School. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.