Friday, 05 March 2021 23:11

Coleman's OT rushing score propels Raiders past Pinecrest in opener

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Senior Jaron Coleman (22), who had the game-winning rushing score in OT, moves around a block set by Austin Moore (75) in the first half of Friday's win. Senior Jaron Coleman (22), who had the game-winning rushing score in OT, moves around a block set by Austin Moore (75) in the first half of Friday's win. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

SOUTHERN PINES — After waiting 15 months to play competitively again, it was only fitting that the Richmond Raiders went to overtime against Pinecrest High School on Friday night for some free football.

Four quarters of back-and-forth play wasn’t enough for the two teams, but one play on offense and four shutdown plays on defense was all Richmond needed to get the 42-35 win.

“I can’t say enough about our kids,” head coach Bryan Till said. “There were a lot of guys playing in different positions, and some who worked out of position because of cramping and guys being removed from the game.

“I’m really proud of the way we continued to fight and adapt to the game tonight,” he added. 

After the Patriots (1-1) tied the game at 35 points with 4:38 to play in the fourth quarter, it was senior running back Jaron Coleman and a fleet of defensive backs who helped Richmond collect its 15th straight Sandhills Athletic Conference win and remain perfect in overtime games in the program’s 48-year history.

High school overtime rules have teams start at the opponent’s 10-yard line and get four downs to score. Coleman, who made his debut as Richmond’s No. 1 tailback, scored on the Raiders’ first overtime play.

He took the handoff from junior quarterback Kellan Hood, found a hole between J.D. Lampley and Jaleel Davis along the left edge of the line, and burst into the end zone. Senior Trevor Moss split the uprights to put Richmond ahead by seven points.

“Pinecrest really came out strong, we practiced for it, but there were a lot of unexpected things that happened,” Coleman said. “We adapted and finished in the end in overtime.

“I saw Jaleel and J.D. had pushed the d-line down and there was a perfect hole for me to score,” he added. “We had a lot of energy tonight and it feels good to win a tough game like this.”

The Patriots trotted out on the field with junior quarterback Brodie Karres under center to try and force the game to double overtime. One the first play from the 10-yard line, Karres ran the ball for two yards, but Davis dragged him down. 

That started a string of three consecutive passing plays by the Patriots, all of which fell incomplete. Karres’ first attempt to Semet Cobb was defended by senior free safety Isaiah Jones, and the second throw intended for Niquwan Hill was broken up by junior cornerback Jamari Broady on the left side.

On Pinecrest’s final attempt, Karres rolled right and tried to connect with Cobb again, but Jones and juniors Kelay Lindsey and Cason Douglas applied pressure to break up the pass, ending the game in the Raiders’ favor.

“I knew in overtime, (Hill) was there No. 1 receiver and I felt like I’m our No. 1 corner, so I really tried to lock him down,” Broady explained. “I can’t explain how proud I am of our secondary for holding it down. I can’t wait to see what the season holds for us.”

Chris Campolieta, Richmond’s defensive backs coach, said he was impressed by the way the relatively young and inexperienced secondary played against a tough Pinecrest offense.

“Playing a team like Pinecrest early on is crazy for defensive backs, especially a group of DBs who combined had zero starts coming into tonight,” Campolieta said. “It was really nice to get into the spread formation and show what they could do in overtime.

“Broady made a great pass breakup in the corner, and Isaiah and Kelay both had pass breakups,” he added. “For them to be focused was great to see, and the guys up front were awesome, which makes their job easier.”

The Raiders got out to a fast start in the first half, jumping ahead 21-0. On the Raiders’ first drive, Hood connected with senior wide receiver Dalton Stroman for a 12-yard gain, completing his first career varsity pass.

Two more big passing plays to senior wideouts Jarod Morrison (22 yards) and Tremel Jones (14 yards), put the Raiders at the Pinecrest 21-yard line. Back-to-back runs from Coleman moved the ball to the 7-yard line, and on the next play, Coleman broke loose up the middle and to his left for his first touchdown of the year.

Senior Trevor Moss tacked on the PAT and the Raiders went ahead 7-0 with 6:44 to play in the opening quarter.

The Raiders’ defense was tough early, picking up a couple of quarterback sacks on Braxton Barber on Pinecrest’s second drive. Gabe Altman and C.J. Tillman combined for a sack on second down and Lampley and Jayme Allen barreled down on Barber for an eight-yard loss and forced a punt.

J.D. Lampley (9) and Jayme Allen (97) sack Braxton Barber (11) in the first quarter.

Mack West punted on Richmond’s next possession, but pinned the Patriots on their own 2-yard line. That field position was helpful for Altman four plays later when he blocked a Jeff Yurk punt attempt in the end zone.

Altman, who made his first varsity start at middle linebacker, brought the ball back down into his possession and scored Richmond’s second touchdown. Moss was true again and the Raiders went up 14-0 with 10:22 left in the half.

Broady also had a breakout night in his first varsity start, picking up the first of his two fumble recoveries on the next Pinecrest drive. Barber completed a pass to Easton Ostert who coughed it up and Broady grabbed the ball and made it to the Richmond 48-yard line.

That play set up an eight-play, 52-yard scoring drive. A 23-yard completion to Tremel Jones, who finished with nine receptions and 140 yards, put the Raiders deep in Pinecrest territory. A couple plays later in the wildcat formation, Tillman ran the ball left and crossed into the end zone untouched for a 4-yard touchdown run.

Moss, who was perfect on all of his PAT attempts, put Richmond up 21-0 with 6:32 left in the second quarter.

But the Patriots’ next drive would start a 24-0 scoring run for the home team that spanned the second and third quarters. 

Barber got Pinecrest on the board with a 4-yard touchdown run with 2:27 left in the second, and after a Richmond fumble and targeting call put the Patriots at the Raiders’ 5-yard line with three seconds left, Barber hit Aaron Scott for a score as time expired.

Out of the intermission, with the Raiders leading 21-14, Pinecrest scored twice early in the third quarter. Nick Garbark returned a botched punt attempt 48 yards and Yurk drilled a 45-yard field goal to give the Patriots a 24-21 lead with 5:54 to go in the third.

The Raiders were without their two starting middle linebackers in the second half and Till noted that Ke’Sean Ingram and Mikey Baldwin “came in, stepped up and worked those positions.”

Broady helped shift the momentum back in Richmond’s favor two drives later when Yurk fumbled the ball on a punt attempt. 

Sweeping in on the loose ball, Broady collected it at the 43-yard line and raced down the right sideline for the 57-yard score. Defensive lineman Jayme Allen provided downfield blocking on the score.

Jamari Broady (21) runs past Jeff Yurk (15) en route to his fumble recovery for a touchdown.

“All of the pursuits we do in practice helped me on that play,” Broady explained. “If I wasn’t in pursuit, I wouldn’t have gotten to the ball. Coach Till and Coach (James) Johnson really helped me develop a second instinct to drive to the ball.

“Jayme is my brother and we know we have each other’s back,” he added. “He did a great job blocking for me, and that score helped the team get the momentum back.”

Leading 28-24 with 2:15 left in the third stanza, the Raiders allowed Yurk to split the uprights from 46 yards to make it a one point game just seven seconds into the fourth.

Richmond answered on its next drive thanks to a laser from Hood to Tremel Jones down the right sideline. On 2nd-and-7, Hood split to his right and hit Tremel Jones in stride for a 42-yard touchdown pass.

Hood was 17-of-29 passing with 227 yards and one touchdown in his first game under center, and added five passes of 20 yards or more. He had 31 rushing yards on nine attempts and found Stroman six times for 59 receiving yards. Coleman led the rushing attack with 90 yards on 19 carries.

The Patriots would manage to tie the game at 35 points in the closing minutes of the fourth. Karres capped an 11-play, 73-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run on a QB keeper. A completion to Cobb on the two-point try tied it up.

Both teams had two more drives in regulation to try and end the game, but all of them ended in either a fumble or punt. Karres took a knee to run out the clock on the Patriots’ last play from scrimmage.

“The option worked well for us early, Kellan read it well and got to the perimeter,” Till explained. “We were able to mix things up all night, but the thing that stopped us was turnovers and drops. That’s first-game stuff and I don’t think that will be a problem going forward. 

“It’s huge the way our defense responded in the second half,” he added. “We gave up a score in the first half because of a lack of composure, then in the second half we saw our kids keep growing. J.D. really led our guys and that’s what I want to continue to build off of.”

Richmond had 375 yards of total offense to Pinecrest’s 312 yards of offense, as both teams were pretty evenly matched throughout the game. Barber had 203 passing yards on 12-of-23, and six different Patriots combined for 79 rushing yards.

Richmond (1-0 SAC) will now prepare for a week of practice with no opponent currently scheduled for next Friday. The Raiders were scheduled to play Jack Britt High School at home, but the Buccaneers are under quarantine. No make-up date has been announced.

Last modified on Saturday, 06 March 2021 09:32
Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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