Raiders persevere in season’s first test

Published 10:30 am Saturday, September 13, 2014

Nate Williams rushes to put Southampton Academy in scoring range in the first half. Williams had 102 yards on the night. -- CAIN MADDEN | The Tidewater News

Nate Williams rushes to put Southampton Academy in scoring range in the first half. Williams had 102 yards on the night. — CAIN MADDEN | The Tidewater News

CARY, N.C.-Southampton Academy bent, but they did not break under the lights at Cary Christian School Friday night, said Head Coach Dale Marks. In a NCISAA Colonial Carolina 8-man football matchup, the Raiders prevailed 50-24 against the Knights.

SA’s defense gave up more yards than it had in another game this season, at 272, but the offense more than made up for it, breaking several big plays for 483 total yards.

The Knights received the opening kickoff and had a good 8-play, 32-yard drive going. But at the 19-yard line, the Raiders forced a fumble and Roy Hill recovered it for SA.

It didn’t take long for the Raiders to put it in the endzone.

On the back of big a 51-yard run by Nate Williams to the 10-yard line, Ethan Edwards was able to punch it in with two attempts. Edwards also ran in the 2-point conversion, making it 8-0 Raiders at the 5:14 mark in the first quarter.

Cary would put together another 8-play drive, this one only gaining 15 yards before they were forced to punt due to a penalty and a fumbled snap that lost 6 yards.

The Raiders would get it and end the quarter on a drive that would ultimately go 80 yards over 7 plays, the last one being a 31-yard touchdown run by Matt Rose with 9:12 left in the half. For the conversion, Rose hit Harrison Pope to make it 16-0 SA.

After forcing a 3-and-out, Southampton Academy would try for another score. They would do it through the air, with Rose finding Edwards on an RB screen that would go 55 yards with 4:41 seconds left. The conversion was no good, making it 22-0 Raiders.

The Knights did not lay down, however. After driving all the way to the 22-yard line, Knight quarterback Nick Smith attempted a keeper on 3 and 4 to get the remaining yards, but Alex Hasty found him in the backfield and hit him for a loss. Smith completed a short pass to Austin Leaming on fourth down, but he was quickly found by a group of Raiders and was tackled for no gain.

After getting the ball back on downs, the Raiders had 49 seconds to work with. Rose went 3-for-5 passing for 39 yards during this drive, but the last incompletion drew a flag for interference, which moved the Raiders to the 23 yard line with 7 seconds to go. It’s all Rose would need, as he’d keep it on an option and run down the sideline for the score as time expired. Rose also scored on the conversion, and at the end of the half, the score was 30-0 Raiders.

Rose would strike again in the third quarter, this time from 39-yards out with 9:14 to go in the third. Williams got in on the conversion, and the score was 38-0.

After the first team forced a 3-and-out, SA’s second team got a turn at the Knights.

With 4:05 to go in the quarter, Tyler Dodson was able to get in from 27 yards out. The conversion failed, but it was enough to earn a running clock with the score 44-0.

The Knights were able to put up some points against the second team in the fourth quarter: Noah Schomburg scored from 35-yards out, with the conversion succeeding; Smith ran one in from 35-yards out, and he also completed a pass to Devin Dukes for a successful conversion.

But SA’s Rose wasn’t finished. This time it was Sam Rose, however, who took the ball down the sideline 50 yards on a designed run for the score with 2:43 left. The conversion failed, but the Raiders were still up 50-16.

That would only last about two minutes, though. With the Clock running, Smith had about a minute to work with after the kickoff. He made those seconds count as he took the ball 75 yards for a touchdown run. Will Goodall pushed the extra point, and the final score was 50-24.

“We were letting our second team guys get in there and get some experience,” Marks said. “They’ve got to step in there next year, so every bit of game time that they can get will be beneficial to them.

“They put up 24 points on us. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t have a problem with allowing the other team to score 24 points when we have 50.

“This game is not about trying to demoralize the kids on the other team. It is all about going out and having good sportsmanship. I heard a lot of that in the line after the game, about the sportsmanship we exhibited in the way we played. That always makes me feel good as a coach.”