ROCKINGHAM — Thursday’s 14-0 win over rival Scotland was “a dream come true” for head coach Patrick Hope.
Getting the opportunity to lead the junior varsity football team to its second consecutive conference championship — the inaugural Sandhills Athletic Conference title — in his first year at the helm was something special.
“It’s a dream come true to be able to come back to your alma mater and represent the program that you played for,” Hope said. “It’s great to be able to instill that tradition into these guys and let them know that a lot of what Richmond has been in the past is inside of them.”
Richmond (10-0, 7-0 SAC) got another strong performance from its defensive unit, as it held Scotland scoreless and forced two turnovers on the night — the first one leading to a four-yard touchdown run from sophomore quarterback Noah Altman.
Both teams were able to produce a few big-yardage plays after Altman’s score but neither could turn those positive gains into points, and the Raiders went into halftime holding on to their 7-0 lead.
“We knew we were going to get Scotland’s best shot — it’s a rivalry game,” Hope said. “But our defense kept us out of trouble with the turnover early and a couple of big sacks to flip field possession.”
Late in the fourth quarter, Richmond finally got what it wanted on offense.
After the Scots turned the ball over on downs, Altman connected with freshman wide receiver Tremel Jones on a 64-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage — leaving only 3:44 on the scoreboard.
Javon Little recorded a sack to kick off Scotland’s ensuing offensive possession and then Z’yier Baldwin sealed the victory with an interception a little more than a minute later.
“We were just able to hang on until we got the right play call and get something that we had been close to the whole night,” Hope added. “To be able to execute it and blow the game open was big.”
Not only was this the second consecutive year that the JV team has won the conference championship, it was also the second straight time it finished the season undefeated.
“I think, if anything, this gives the fans something to be hopeful for in the future,” he said. “I think this is going to get Richmond back as the premier program in the state.”
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.