SA begins season with blowout win

Published 12:23 pm Saturday, August 30, 2014

SA’s Nate Williams rushes the ball against Lawrence Academy. Williams rushed for 98 yards and scored two touchdowns.-- DIANE N. ZEIGLER | TIDEWATER NEWS

SA’s Nate Williams rushes the ball against Lawrence Academy. Williams rushed for 98 yards and scored two touchdowns.– DIANE N. ZEIGLER | TIDEWATER NEWS

Jeffrey J. Zeigler/Contributing Writer

COURTLAND – With Southampton Academy losing key players to graduation from last year’s gridiron squad, there were question marks about who would replace those starters, particularly on defense. Some of those questions may have been answered Friday night as the Raiders pounded Lawrence Academy 44-8 in the NCISAA football opener for both teams.

Southampton Academy’s offense ran as smooth as a jet, racking up 425 total yards. Quarterback Matt Rose scored three touchdowns, rushing for 174 yards on 8 carries and throwing for another 63. Running back Nate Williams scored two touchdowns and rushed for 98 yards on just 5 carries.

The defense also came up big after a shaky start. The Raiders allowed just 36 yards of offense in the first half. Lawrence threw for negative 10 yards against the SA starters and had negative 40 yards on the ground against the SA starters in the first half. The Warriors had just 94 yards for the game, and most of that came against Southampton Academy’s second team defense.

The contest opened ominously as Southampton Academy blew the kickoff return on Tyler Jones’ squib kick, which the Warriors recovered at their own 48. Three plays later, Lawrence quarterback Bryant Goodwin hit Jones with a 27-yard pass down to the Southampton Academy 13. But, two plays later, SA’s Williams intercepted a Goodwin pass in the end zone to end the drive.

The Southampton Academy offense went to work and on the first play from scrimmage, Ethan Edwards ran the ball 37 yards. On a third down play, Williams busted through the middle and scampered 51 yards for a touchdown at 8:46 of the first quarter. Edwards ran the 2-point conversion and the Raiders led 8-0.

Southampton Academy head coach Dale Marks said the interception was a key play in the game.

“Nate Williams comes up with a big play in the end zone and we go and drive down the field and score and that really turned the momentum of the game,” he said. “I think it took the wind out of their sails.”

After a four and out by the Warriors, the Raiders came back on their next possession and scored again. Rose completed a 25-yard pass to Edwards to the Lawrence 35. Four plays later, Rose faked a handoff and rushed 15 yards for his first touchdown. An incomplete 2-point pass kept the score at 14-0.

Moments later, Rose put on the afterburners again and bolted 45 yards for a touchdown. Williams’ 2-point run made it 22-0 with 2:31 still left to play in the first quarter. Touchdowns by Williams and Sam Rose gave the Raiders an insurmountable 36-0 halftime lead.

Overall, Marks said he was pleased with his team’s play.

“I was real proud of how those kids stuck it up in there. For the most part we threw the ball well. I’ll have to see the film to see how the blocking was, but usually when you’re making good runs it’s because of the blocking up front,” Marks said.

“We did some good things but we’ve got a lot to work on. We will find out more once we look at the film, but for the most part we executed well on offense. There’s a couple of things we need to shore up on defense, but overall I was very pleased with our play,” Marks added.

The Raiders travel to Wilson to play Community Christian next Friday.