For the first time in several weeks, an offense which seemed in hibernation, awoke from its slumber this weekend.
The quarterback put the turnover bug behind him for at least one game and did exactly what the coaching staff and his teammates needed of him, nothing more and nothing less.
And the defense stepped up and allowed a harmless touchdown in a big win.
While all of these attributes could be credited to the Carolina Panthers this week, they also describe the Richmond Senior Raiders.
After struggling to put points on the board against the Southeastern Conference’s best defense in the regular season finale and failing to score more than 30 in their last three games, the Raiders rebounded in a big way. Richmond scored on six of its first seven possessions against Cary and cruised to a 40-7 victory.
The ground game went over the 400-yard mark for the first time since Week 4 and running back Dakwa Nichols displayed his quickness and ability to make defenders look silly in the open field since suffering a foot injury against West Forsyth.
Not only did Nichols look sharp, but quarterback Brent Flowers didn’t try to win the game on one run or one pass. This has been the biggest knock on the junior is that sometimes he doesn’t let the moment to make the big play come to him, he tries to force it.
Flowers threw an interception in all five SEC contests and was fortunate in several of those contests he didn’t have multiple picks. Even when he kept the ball in the triple option, which is one of his strengths, Flowers at times put the ball on the turf.
Against the Imps, Flowers returned to the form he displayed in the nonconference contests. He ran the ball effectively and seemingly made the right decisions when called upon to put it in the air. Flowers’ stat line won’t wow many observers but it should make Richmond coach Paul Hoggard happy — 90 rushing yards, a touchdown and 6 of 9 passing for 92 yards and two scores.
The biggest thing in Hoggard’s eyes that Flowers didn’t do in the playoff opener was turn the ball over.
And that is the constant the coaching staff wants from Flowers and the rest of the Raiders, play within yourself and step up when the time is right.
That philosophy could earn them another trip to Chapel Hill and Kenan Stadium.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.