Raiders, Cougars to clash on gridiron
by By Shawn Stinson
ROCKINGHAM — Just when the Richmond Senior coaching staff thought it was safe from having to deal with a Wing-T offense following long-time Lumberton coach Mike Brill’s retirement this spring, along comes Vance.
The Cougars will mainly utilize the Wing-T but aren’t married to the offense like the Pirates were under Brill.
“Their running backs aren’t bad and if you get undisciplined, they have the ability to pop a long run on you,” Richmond defensive coordinator Mark Arthur said. “Their quarterback did well throwing the ball and he also did a good job running the ball. They have a couple of designed quarterback runs.”
Arthur added he watched the video from Vance’s season-opening 36-14 win over Berry Academy. He noted the Cougars lined up in various formations, including the shotgun.
“You just don’t know if they were experimenting with different things and trying to see what worked or what didn’t,” Arthur said. “They are definitely based out of the Wing-T.”
Vance running back Kyderian Green scored three touchdowns from 9, 3 and 2 yards out in Week 1. Quarterback Laquell Thomas connected with wide receiver Donovon Spencer for an 85-yard touchdown pass. Spencer also returned the game’s opening kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown.
In last week’s 64-30 victory at Myrtle Beach, Richmond surrendered 150 yards on the ground after giving up 123 to Rocky River in the opener. Arthur said some of that was due to the defensive line gearing up to rush the passer, but also poor tackling.
“They ran the ball more than we thought they would,” Arthur said about the Seahawks. “A couple of those big runs we just didn’t tackle. We made that a big emphasis this week. We can’t beat up our running backs, so we did tackling drills amongst ourselves. I believe it helped. I looked at one of the coaches during the drills and said ‘Why didn’t we do this Friday night.’ I hope it carries over.”
As Arthur looks for ways to slow down the opposition, Richmond coach Paul Hoggard hopes his offense keeps rolling along. The Raiders are averaging 50.5 points per game.
Running back Diquon Cox rushed for a career-high 256 yards on 14 carries and four touchdowns against Myrtle Beach. Quarterback Brent Flowers added 145 yards on the ground and a 60-yard touchdown. Miles Grant had two scores, one rushing and one receiving.
Even though Richmond’s offense exploded for 657 yards of total offense and 64 points, everything wasn’t quite as rosy. The Raiders were flagged 13 times for 120 yards, botched three extra-points and committed their first turnover of the season.
“I know where we’re at and we not playing that great right now,” Hoggard said. “Our skill people are pretty talented and they can go. We are about where I thought we would be and we have been fortunate to score points where we’re at right now.”
The Raiders lead the series with the Cougars 2-0 and both of those contests were in the playoffs. Richmond rolled to a 45-6 win in 2003 and a 30-14 victory the following season.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.
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