ROCKINGHAM — It was a game Richmond Senior needed to get if it wanted to keep its postseason aspirations.
And it took all of 90 seconds for the Raiders to take control of the must-win contest.
Juan Onesto scored the game’s first goal on a feed from Andrew Balzer off a free kick to send Richmond to a 3-1 victory over Southeastern Conference rival Hoke County Wednesday night at Raider Stadium.
The victory improves the Raiders to 4-6-1 overall and 3-3 in the SEC. The Bucks drop to 8-8 on the season and 4-3 in league play. A loss would have given Hoke a sweep in the season series and more than likely forced Richmond to win the conference tournament to advance to the postseason.
“That was a big surprise,” Richmond coach Bennie Howard said of Onesto’s tally. “We needed this. This is just the first step in a multi-step process. We will go back to practice and concentrate on Purnell Swett for Monday.”
Armando Garcia and Balzer recorded the other goals for the Raiders. Richmond goalkeeper Joseph Griffith picked up the shutout and was forced to make a three big saves in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
“Those were very big,” Howard said. “If they would have scored, our heads are down and they have the momentum.”
Hoke coach Colin McDavid, the former Scotland coach, thought his team came out flat and it has been a season-long problem.
“It’s been plaguing us and I don’t know what it is,” McDavid said. “I don’t want to take credit away from Richmond because Richmond played a great game. I saw it yesterday in practice and I can’t put my finger on it.”
In the junior varsity contest, Richmond downed Hoke 4-0. Manual Zapata, Jory Smith, Alex Alvardo and Max Diaz all scored for the Raiders (6-3).
Ellerbe golfers compete at Richmond Pines
The Ellerbe Middle School golf team finished fifth Tuesday in a Southeastern Conference Middle School match.
Hamlet, Anson, Rohanen and Rockingham also competed in the event.
All three of the Wildcat golfers carded their best scores of the season. Bryson McKenzie shot a 54, Jackson Grooms finished with a 58 and Dawson Wilson had a 62.
Ellerbe will return to action Monday at Twin Valley Country Club in Wadesboro.
Rockingham sweeps Ellerbe
The Rockingham Middle School volleyball team downed Ellerbe 25-23 and 25-19 in the first match and 25-9 and 25-17 in the nightcap Monday afternoon.
Leading the way for the Rockets were Savannah Lampley with 32 service points and Brianna Baysek’s 19 service points.
Rockingham will return to action Monday when it travels to Hamlet.
— 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.