ROCKINGHAM — Richmond Senior didn’t have an answer for Jack Britt quarterback Mark McRae in the second half.
The senior connected on his final 11 passes on the night, including the game-winning 32-yard bomb to Jalen McDaniel with 25 seconds remaining in the game to lift the Buccaneers to a 56-52 victory over the Raiders Friday night.
Jack Britt will take on Garner next week in the East Region title game. The Trojans knocked off Leesville Road 56-35.
McRae finished the game 21 of 26 for 345 yards with five touchdowns. He added another 80 yards on the ground and two scores.
“They made the plays and we didn’t,” Richmond defensive coordinator James Johnson said. “Not just on the final touchdown but all night.”
Jack Britt needed McRae’s heroics after the Raiders took the lead on Brandon Greene’s 29-yard field goal with 1:42 remaining in the game following a 1-yard punt. Richmond started the possession at the Buccaneer 16. An illegal procedure penalty pushed the Raiders back five yards and were unable to get a first down after two runs and pass.
Richmond coach Paul Hoggard thought settling for the field goal was the turning point in the contest.
“We had been moving the ball up-and-down the field on them in the second half,” Hoggard said. “We get the ball in great field position and we end up getting a field goal instead of a touchdown. That ended up making the difference in the game. Plus we didn’t take as much time off the clock as we would have liked.”
The ensuing Jack Britt possession started their own 32. McRae hooked up with Edmund Grant for an 8-yard pass. Eric Carter ran for a short gain, prompting the Buccaneers to call a timeout. McRae hit Sean MacLain on a screen pass for a 9-yard pickup before completing an 11-yard pass to McDaniel to move the ball into Richmond territory.
McRae attempt a quarterback keeper on the next play, but was brought down for a 3-yard loss, forcing Jack Britt to burn its final timeout. McRae found McDaniel for a 12-yard pass on the left sideline to set up the go-ahead touchdown on the next snap.
After the game’s final touchdown, the Raiders tried for one final bit of magic to stay perfect against the Buccaneers. Dakwa Nichols returned the kickoff 30 yards to the Richmond 47. After a 7-yard run by Nichols, Brent Flowers connected with Raheem Bowden for a 19-yard pass to move the ball to the Jack Britt 27 with 3.4 seconds remaining in the contest. On the final play of the game, Flowers lofted a pass into the end zone looking for Trent Bostick, but Cedric Williams knocked the ball to the ground.
Allowing the Buccaneers to advance in the playoffs and defeat the Raiders for the first time in 10 tries.
Nichols finished his Richmond career with 177 yards on 11 carries and three touchdowns. Flowers rushed for 171 yards on 18 attempts and three scores, while Diquon Cox ran for 96 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
The Raiders ran for 444 yards against a defense which had allowed an average of just under 10 points a game in its last four contests.
“That offense really spreads you out and puts pressure on you,” Jack Britt defensive coordinator Garron Warwick said.
Richmond finishes its season with an 11-2 record.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.