ROCKINGHAM – Big things are ahead for some of the county’s smaller football players.
On Saturday, the Youth Raiders Football Association played host to the opening round of the 2017 North Carolina Amateur Athletic Union’s (AAU) state playoffs that saw 32 teams from across the state visit Richmond County.
With the assistance of Richmond County Schools, and Richmond Senior High School head football coach Bryan Till, Richmond team president Errol Hood was able to use Raider Stadium, as well as Ninth Grade Academy and Rockingham Middle School’s football fields to put on the event.
Not only was it a big day for the community to host the event, it was also a big day for the “Baby” Raiders 10U team, which defeated the Triangle Hornets handily 38-6. The 10U Raiders got to play in the “big house” of Raider Stadium, which is something that all of them won’t soon forget.
“I am so proud of our 10U team and their dominance over the Hornets in front of a nice crowd of Raiders fans which included a few school board members and coach Till,” Hood said. “Our kids played so well and will cherish that game for the rest of their lives.”
As the score dictated, the game was never really close. By the end of the first half, the Raiders led the Hornets 20-0.
On the opening drive of the game, Raiders quarterback DaQuan Young scampered in from 11 yards out with 7:37 remaining on the clock. After a successful one-point conversion attempt, Richmond led 7-0.
Raiders DaQuan Young (5) in action against the Triangle Hornets.
Just five minutes later, the Raiders scored again, this time set up by a diving Fred Isaac interception to give Richmond the ball back after stopping the Hornets offense for the first of many times.
Young dropped back in the pocket and found AJ Covington wide open in the right corner of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion was no good, and the Raiders were up 13-0 at the end of the first quarter.
AJ Covington catches his five-yard touchdown from Young in the first quarter.
With 3:19 left before the end of the first half, the Raiders scored again to go up 20-0 and put the game out of reach. During the second half, Richmond tacked on 18 more points to the Hornets’ six.
Having a big day for Richmond was Young, who finished the day with three rushing touchdowns and threw a 70-yard pass to Isaac. Covington may have had a bigger day, as he rushed for 50 yards on seven carries, while also having one touchdown pass to Bobby Little. Covington had six solo tackles on defense, and added a two-point conversion following a Raiders score.
Keidreion Crump carried the ball four times for the Raiders for 30 yards. He also had one catch for 15 yards, and racked up three solo tackles on defense. Rounding out the Raiders performance was Ke’Onta Pegues, who had four carries for 35 yards and a two-point conversion.
“I’m looking forward to hosting future playoff games and Jamborees at Raider Stadium,” Hood explained. “Our organization didn’t benefit financially from hosting the games. However, we did benefit from our players getting to play at Raider Stadium. That’s worth more than a financial gain to me.”
All of the proceeds collected from Saturday’s playoff tournament will be used to help the state champion team(s) pay their way to Florida to vie for a national championship.
With the win, the No. 5-seeded 10U Raiders advanced to the second round of the playoffs and are set to face the No. 4 Hammerdown Tarheels out of Charlotte. Also in action in the second round will be the 14U Raiders team, which is ranked as the No. 3 team. They’ll face the New Age Panthers, also out of Charlotte. Games are set to be played Saturday, November 11, at Pinecrest High School.