SOTY, Honorable Mention: JV Raiders win SEC title, finish undefeated


By Leon Hargrove Jr. - lhargrove@civitasmedia.com



Daily Journal file photo Jada Edwards drops back to pass last season.


Daily Journal file photo Taveon Ellerbe, who will suit up for the varsity team this fall, makes his way up the field during a game against Butler.


STORIES OF THE SCHOOL YEAR, HONORABLE MENTION:

The Daily Journal is reviewing Richmond Senior High School’s top 10 sports stories of the 2016-2017 academic school year. Stories will be published in reverse order.

The Richmond Senior JV football team clinched the Southeastern Conference championship with a win over Scotland back in November and then took down Purnell Swett a week later in order to finish the season undefeated.

Coach William Fly, who now coaches the junior varsity defensive line, said he stressed the importance of ending the year with the conference’s top team honor and an unblemished record — and the team was able to do so. Richmond finished with a 9-0 overall record.

“This is the best bunch I’ve coached. Just in terms of their resilience and their attitude,” Fly said following the win.

WHAT HAPPENED

The Raiders relied on its stifling defense to pull away from its opponents in the last two games.

With the Scots marching down the field with less than three minutes to go, and trailing by four points, Richmond needed a defensive stop. Nate Hudson would rise to the occassion for the Raiders by intercepting a pass and then taking it all way back for a score — helping his team to a 19-8 victory.

Kalil Malachi recovered a fumble in the end zone against Purnell Swett. His score, along with Jordyn Wall’s receiving touchdown and punt-return score, separated Richmond from the Rams in the second half of a 33-12 win in its season finale at home.

Those two victories came after the Raiders experienced a lenghty break in action due to Hurricane Matthew.

Richmond shut out South View on Sept. 15 and then went more than a month without playing in a game. It expected two weeks off, as there were no games scheduled the following weeks, but the damage from the hurricane severely affected surrounding areas — which included conference opponents Hoke County, Lumberton and Purnell Swett.

Games were postponed, moved around more than once and ultimately canceled.

However, the Raiders stayed focused, continued to practice and finished the season on top.

WHAT WAS SAID

“We told them, this is the group that’s going to help get everything back on track. This is the group that can make something happen. And by them being undefeated and being conference champions, they’re one step closer in making that happen….All of my coaches were big parts of what’s going on. I’ve been extremely blessed to have those guys on my staff to make my life a whole lot easier.” — Coach Fly

WHAT’S NEXT

The junior varsity football team looks to reload after losing a lot of its production from last season. Players like Malachi, Wall, Jada Edwards, Taveon Ellerbe and Joerail White are expected to suit up for the varsity squad this fall.

Noah Altman, who was the quarterback for the Ninth-Grade Academy’s team last year, seems to be in line for the position on the JV team.

Patrick Hope now takes over the head coaching duties, while still acting as the offensive coordinator and defensive line coach. Mike McClure is listed as the team’s defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach.

Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.

Daily Journal file photo
Jada Edwards drops back to pass last season.
http://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/web1_jada.jpgDaily Journal file photo
Jada Edwards drops back to pass last season.

Daily Journal file photo
Taveon Ellerbe, who will suit up for the varsity team this fall, makes his way up the field during a game against Butler.
http://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/web1_ellerbeweb.jpgDaily Journal file photo
Taveon Ellerbe, who will suit up for the varsity team this fall, makes his way up the field during a game against Butler.

By Leon Hargrove Jr.

lhargrove@civitasmedia.com

STORIES OF THE SCHOOL YEAR, HONORABLE MENTION:

The Daily Journal is reviewing Richmond Senior High School’s top 10 sports stories of the 2016-2017 academic school year. Stories will be published in reverse order.

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