LAURINBURG — Following Monday’s first-round victory over Purnell Swett, Richmond Senior coach Bennie Howard knew the task in front of his team — stop Colby Johnson.
For the majority of the first half, Richmond was able to contain Lumberton’s leading goal scorer.
Then Johnson broke free from the Raider defense on a free kick to net the first of his two goals to send the Pirates to a 3-0 victory in a Southeastern Conference semifinal matchup Tuesday night at Scotland.
Johnson took a pass from Miguel Bello on the restart, dribbled through the middle of Richmond’s defense and fired a shot past goalkeeper Logan Deese for the contest’s first tally. It was the only goal of the opening 40 minutes.
“The first half was moving at a rats-race pace, it was up-and-down the field,” Lumberton coach Kenny Simmons said. “There was about a 10-minute span there that Richmond really took it to us. Then we get that quick restart after the foul and Colby was able to score. Overall, I didn’t like the way we played in the first half.”
Richmond had a chance to get on the scoreboard moments before Johnson’s goal, as Juan Onesto sent a shot towards the net which Lumberton goalkeeper Christian Valladrez saved. The rebound landed at the feet of Sergio Charparo, who fired the ball past Valladrez but it bounced off the right post.
“We missed several one-on-one shots tonight, that’s been our M.O. this season,” Howard said. “We haven’t had much luck or as much luck as other teams this season.”
Trailing 1-0, the Raiders (8-8-1) attempted to tie the game in the opening moments of the second half. Charparo launched a shot which sailed just above the crossbar.
“Our keeper came up big for us,” Simmons said. “We got lucky they had some shots hit the post and some that went high.”
Lumberton (15-5) will face Pinecrest (16-1-2) in the championship contest 7 p.m. Thursday at Scotland. The teams split the season series with each team winning on the road. Pinecrest blanked Hoke County 5-0 in the other semifinal contest Tuesday night.
Lumberton, Pinecrest and Richmond will all advance to the postseason, while Hoke County (10-11) will await its fate to see if it will earn a wild-card berth.
“We made the state playoffs,” Howard said. “I’m happy about that.”
Raiders move up in latest AP poll
ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond Senior football team jumped up one spot in this week’s Associated Press North Carolina High School football released Tuesday afternoon.
The Raiders moved up to fourth following their 50-0 victory over Purnell Swett.
Mallard Creek retained the top shot and received 10 of the 11 first-place votes. Scotland was still second and garnered the final top ballot. Dudley stayed steady at No. 3. Following Richmond was Hough, East Forsyth, West Forsyth and West Mecklenburg. Moving into the top 10 this week were: Northwest Guilford and Charlotte Catholic.
In the NCPreps.com poll, Richmond was sixth against this week. Mallard Creek was No. 1 with seven top votes, followed by Scotland, which grabbed the other first-place selection. Dudley, West Forsyth and Hough rounded out the top five. East Forsyth was seventh, followed by West Mecklenburg, North Davidson and New Bern.
The Raiders made the biggest move in the latest CarolinaPreps.com power rankings, going from eighth to fifth. Mallard Creek, Scotland, Dudley and Hough were the top four teams. West Forsyth, West Mecklenburg, Rocky River, Charlotte Catholic and Northwest Guilford rounded out the top 10.
RSHS golfers fail to advance to state
PINEHURST — Richmond Senior golfers Cassie McFayden and Cassie Smith came up just short of qualifying for the 4A state tournament.
McFayden carded a 98 and Smith fired a 99 at Pinehurst No. 1 Tuesday morning. The final qualifier shot a 97.
The 4A championship is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday at Pinehurst No. 6.
Both McFayden and Smith were named to Southeastern Conference all-league team.
— 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.