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Tuesday, 09 July 2019 15:00

Raiders go 3-0 in final home 7-on-7, use it as preparation for Powerade Invitational

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Rising senior Xavion Lindsey intercepts a ball during Tuesday's scrimmage against St. Pauls High School. Rising senior Xavion Lindsey intercepts a ball during Tuesday's scrimmage against St. Pauls High School. Kyle Pillar — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — Tuesday’s 7-on-7 scrimmage for the Richmond Senior High School football program was the team’s final home tournament this summer, but it served as a warmup for the Raiders’ biggest contest ahead of the regular season.

Richmond welcomed in Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, Chesterfield High School (S.C.) and St. Pauls High School, and went 3-0 on the day which head coach Bryan Till called “a good performance” ahead of the Powerade 7-on-7 Invitational Tournament later this week.

Playing three 20-minute games, all four teams followed the Powerade Invitational’s format. Touchdowns were worth six points, interceptions were worth three points and defensive stops were worth two points. Till explained that extra point conversions were not used in Tuesday’s scrimmages, but will be a part of the Powerade event.

The field was 40-yards long, and offenses had three plays to get 15 yards for a first down. Once inside the 10-yard line, three plays were given to score, otherwise it was a turnover on downs.

The Raiders began their day with their biggest win, defeating Berry Academy 27-17. They followed up with two come-from-behind wins over Chesterfield, 17-16, and St. Pauls, 19-10, to cap the scrimmages.

“We faced some very different offenses today,” Till, the team’s defensive coordinator, said. “Chesterfield ran an I formation, which is something you don’t see a lot of in 7-on-7s. That was great because it made our defense focus and remember our rules (for different formations).

“There was some adversity last time out against Cheraw, and we saw some today early on,” he added. “But our guys came back out after the initial couple of series.”

Rising junior quarterback Caleb Hood took a majority of Richmond’s snaps Tuesday, and came out of the gates hot, going 9-for-9 in three series against Berry Academy. He collected 120 passing yards and found rising senior Zierre McCray, rising junior Dalton Stroman and rising sophomore Kellan Hood for touchdowns.

Stroman hauled in a 30-yard touchdown on Richmond’s second play, while McCray cut across the middle of the field for a five-yard score on the next drive. Kellan Hood snagged a pass from his older brother just inside the left corner of the end zone from five yards out.

On defense against the Cardinals, rising junior linebacker CJ Tillman tipped a pass on the first drive and nearly had an interception on the second drive, forcing Berry Academy to go three-and-out. Rising senior Dereck Barringer had the first of his several pass breakups on the day, and fellow senior Xavion Lindsey intercepted the first of his two passes of the morning on Berry Academy’s fifth drive.

Against Chesterfield, Richmond’s offense came out flat and turned the ball over on downs, which was followed by a six-play scoring drive by the Rams. Trailing 6-0, Caleb Hood tied the game on the first play of the second drive with a 40-yard missile to rising junior wide receiver Tremel Jones in the left corner of the end zone.

Stroman used his 6-4 frame to catch a 33-yard touchdown pass on the third play of the next Richmond drive, and Barringer stepped up to give his team three more points with an interception on Chesterfield’s third drive.

For the second-straight scrimmage to close the day, the Raider defense allowed an opening-drive score, this time to St. Pauls. Caleb Hood responded by going 3-for-3 and connected with rising junior Jakolbe Baldwin for a short gain before hitting Jones on back-to-back passes, the latter resulting in a 25-yard scoring strike.

On the next two St. Pauls drives, Lindsey and fellow senior defensive back Zyier Baldwin combined for five points. Baldwin broke up a would-be touchdown on third down to force a turnover (two points) and Lindsey cut across the middle of the field and intercepted a pass on the next drive (three points).

McCray ended Richmond scoring when he hauled in a 40-yard pass from Caleb Hood on the right sideline.

“The big thing for us today was that we can’t run our normal defense on Friday and Saturday at the Powerade 7-on-7,” Till said. “We worked on having our guys talk from the standpoint of a 4-3 defense instead of a 3-4 defense. There was a lot of good work shown today.”

Unofficially, Caleb Hood finished the day 23-for-27 with 240 yards and seven touchdowns. Jones, McCray and Stroman each caught two touchdowns and Kellan Hood caught the other. 

Lindsey led the defense with two interceptions, while Barringer added a pick and a handful of pass breakups. Combined between the three scrimmages, Richmond held its opponents to just 240 yards.

“Today was a great preparation for Friday and Saturday because we played three different teams, where we’ll see seven teams in bracket play,” offensive coordinator Brad Denson said of getting geared up for the Powerade Invitational. “It’s good to go back and forth to recognize different coverages and formations and see how our players and coaches respond to it.

“We got a lot of reps in today, which is good, and I was impressed with our concentration on offense,” he added. “We came out early and played hard. Our focus level has to be like it was today to play well (in the Powerade Invitational).”

Till closed by tipping his cap to his assistant head coach and wide receivers coach Greg Williams, as well as Wiley Mabe and his cookout crew.

“Coach Williams has set all of our 7-on-7s up and has done a phenomenal job this summer,” Till said. “He makes sure everything runs smoothly and gets everything prepared. 

“Mr. Mabe and his guys have cooked for us after all three tournaments this summer,” he added. “His group has been steadfast in helping us out and I can’t tell Coach Williams or Mr. Mabe ‘thank you’ enough for making these a success.”

The Raiders will leave for the Powerade Invitational on Thursday for the opening ceremonies, and compete in the two-day tournament Friday and Saturday at the Sportsplex at Matthews facility in Matthews, N.C.

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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