Raiders gun for revenge vs. Buccaneers
by By Shawn Stinson
ROCKINGHAM — After last week’s thrilling come-from-behind victory over Vance, Richmond Senior coach Paul Hoggard told his team to worry about the game Friday. Not the one in seven days against Butler.
“We owe them something after last year.”
The them Hoggard was referring to is Jack Britt. Last season, the Buccaneers knocked the Raiders out of the state 4AA playoffs in the third round with a 56-52 victory at Raider Stadium.
It was the first win for Jack Britt in 10 attempts against Richmond and the first meeting between the two programs since the 2008 state championship game.
“We haven’t really talked much about it since,” Hoggard said about getting revenge. “Jack Britt is a great program and has great tradition.”
Right now the Buccaneers are off to a 1-2 start, but the competition hasn’t been easy. After stopping Southeast Raleigh in the season-opener, Jack Britt fell at Scotland (52-31) and at home to Douglas Byrd (17-14).
Hoggard added this could make for a tough Friday night heading into the “Boneyard.”
“You know the saying about a dog backed into the corner, it’s going to come out fighting,” he said. “We are going to play a hungry team.”
Take away the school-record tying 52 points it surrendered against Scotland and Jack Britt’s defense is allowing 13 points a game. Junior linebacker Joseph Stevenson leads the unit with 27 tackles. His linebacker mate, sophomore Antwone Harper, is right behind him with 19 tackles.
Hoggard believes it will be the best group it has faced this season.
“The biggest thing is their personnel,” Hoggard said. “Their secondary people look like secondary people. Their linebackers look like linebackers. Their defensive line look like a defensive line. Their defensive line is really impressive.”
That unit will be tasked to slow down a Richmond offense that is averaging 415.6 rushing yards, 93 passing yards and 47.3 points a game.
Diquon Cox is more than halfway to hitting 1,000-yard mark this season. The senior running back has 536 yards on 38 carries and eight touchdowns. Despite being held to minus 6 yards against Vance, senior quarterback Brent Flowers is next with 327 rushing yards. Junior running Miles Grant has notched 260 yards and three scores.
Flowers struggled throwing the ball against the Cougars, going 2 for 8 for 78 yards and a touchdown.
“I feel good about our passing game,” Hoggard said. “We were really close to connecting on some passes.”
While the offense is humming along, Richmond’s defense has struggled at times to defend the run. The Raiders are allowing 6.3 yards per carry to the opposition and against a Jack Britt team that averages 33 rushes a game, it might not be a good mix.
Senior running back Eric Carter leads the Buccaneers in rushing with 351 yards and two touchdowns. In last season’s playoff win, Carter rushed for 98 yards. Edmond Grant is the only other Jack Britt rusher in triple figures, running for 117 yards and a score in two contests.
Senior Harrison Strother replaced Mark McRae under center this fall. McRae went 21 of 26 for 346 yards and five touchdowns in last season’s win. In addition, he ran for another 82 yards and two scores.
“They are massive up front and they are going to do what they are good at,” Hoggard said. “Their running backs are bigger than a lot of our people up front.”
Richmond has been hobbled on defense this week because linebackers John Taylor and Ray Ellerbe have been limited in practice with various injuries.
Hoggard added there could be some shuffling along the offensive line if center Josh Leviner is unable to play because of an ailment. Backups Austin Patrick and Carl White have been ruled out, forcing Hoggard to move Bryson Patterson up from the junior varsity team and use the eight-quarter rule on him. Also, Zykie Lockhart has been switched from guard to center to provide depth at the position.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.
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