SA Raiders look to playoffs

Published 10:18 am Saturday, October 25, 2014

Harrison Pope spies down field on a punt return. He ends up taking it all the way for a 60-yard touchdown on the Raiders’ first offensive play. -- CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

Harrison Pope spies down field on a punt return. He ends up taking it all the way for a 60-yard touchdown on the Raiders’ first offensive play. — CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

After picking up the 40-14 NCISAA 8-Man Colonial Carolina win against Halifax Academy, the Southampton Academy Raiders are looking to host a playoff game on Halloween night, likely against Hobgood Academy.

In much of the first half, the Vikings gave the Raiders a game. After forcing a 4-and-out, Harrison Pope fielded the punt at the 40 yard line and took it all the way to the endzone at the 10:20 mark in the first.

Things were not looking good, but the Vikings dug in and stopped Ethan Edwards for the conversion.

Halifax got the ball back at their 37-yard line, and over a 9-play drive, Luke Blackman would beat his man and reach paydirt from 26 yards out at the 5:11 mark. The Raiders, this time, would dig in and stop Landon Poole from getting the conversion.

On the next two possessions, the Raiders and Vikings each put together drives, but the opposing defenses each got stops, forcing turnovers on downs.

At the 8:57 mark in the second quarter, the Raiders got it at their 20-yard line, and they’d take it all 80-yards down the field, with the last one a 43-yard touchdown run by Ethan Edwards. The conversion failed, but the score was 12-6 Raiders with 5:12 to go in the half.

Halifax quickly answered, though, with Blackman speeding through tackles on the second play of the drive to earn a 46-yard touchdown. He’d also run in a conversion to put Halifax up 14-12 at the 4:11 mark.

When Halifax lined up to kick, they tried to pull off the onside kick, but Roy Hill was able to fall on it at the 49-yard line.

Trailing, a high snap forced quarterback Andrew Lowe to keep it and only gain a yard. Then, on the next play, Edwards was stuffed in the backfield for a 2-yard loss. On third and 11, Lowe handed it off to Edwards again, who found just enough room for the first down.

The Raider offense slowly worked it down the field from there, and with 25 seconds left in the half, Andrew Lowe kept it from the 5-yard line and got into the endzone. On this conversion attempt, Lowe hit Brooks Holland to put the Raiders up 20-14.

After a defensive stand for Halifax to start the half, Pope got it right back on the second play of the series, intercepting Garrett Morris at the 14-yard line.

On the ensuing Raider drive, Lowe rewarded Pope with a touchdown pass that went for 11 yards at the 3:26 mark in the third. After the conversion failed, the Raiders led 26-14.

The Raiders forced a 3-and-out on the next drive, only to turn the ball on a Nate Williams run.

In a drive that ended the quarter, the Vikings got to their 2-yard line, but it wasn’t quite enough as the Raiders came up with the goal-line stand.

And on the next drive, starting at the 2-yard line didn’t hurt them, as it only took 4 plays for Williams to find paydirt. Following a 32-yard run from Edwards, Williams broke several tackles on his way to a 53-yard score with 7:44 to go in the game. Lowe hit Pope in the endzone for the conversion and it was 34-14.

Halifax wasn’t going down without a fight though, and this time they were able to make it all the way to the 15-yard line, before Caleb Bradshaw sacked Morris at the 24-yard line to force a turnover on downs.

The second team came in, and the Vikings were not able to keep them out of the endzone. On an 8-play drive, Sam Rose got in from 23 yards out. Lowe took a knee on the conversion, and it was 40-14 with 32 seconds left.

The Vikings came out throwing, but backup quarterback Reid Lynch was not able to complete a pass. After turning it over on downs, Sam Rose took a knee to seal the victory.

Edwards finished the night with 145 yards on 16 carries and 1 touchdown. Williams rushed it 12 times for 97 yards and 1 touchdown.

Pope had 2 total touchdowns and 24 yards receiving. Lowe finished the night 6-7 passing for 59 yards with 1 touchdown pass.

“With our senior leader for both offense and defense out, I was worried if we’d be able to match their physicality,” Head Coach Dale Marks said of sidelined QB/LB Matt Rose. “But we got out there and played a tough and physical game.

“I thought our ends did a good job taking away the sidelines from them for most of the night, and our linebackers filled in the center there. It was a good defensive effort, and I’m proud of them.”