ROCKINGHAM — Like it had practiced all week, the Richmond football team was able to stay disciplined and remain composed when it hosted Pinecrest on Friday.
Head coach Bryan Till said his defensive unit’s focus “was outstanding” on the night, as the Raiders only allowed 173 total yards of offense and one score in their 28-7 victory over the Patriots.
A big turnaround from the 34 points they gave up to Purnell Swett in last week’s victory.
“Pinecrest showed a couple of formations we hadn’t seen…but even when we weren’t lined up correctly, our kids understood what was going on and made adjustments quickly. That was big for them,” Till said.
A number of tackles for loss got the Raiders going early on defense, as they were able to gain momentum and force Pinecrest to punt on its first four possessions of the game.
Their stingy efforts on that side of the ball led to a couple of diving interceptions from senior defensive backs Kaleb Douglas and Jaquan Everett in the second and fourth quarters, respectively.
Douglas jumped a slant route on fourth down and picked off his first pass of the season after fellow senior Dante Miller, running back, scored the game’s first touchdown on an 11-yard run early in the second period.
Following Miller’s second rushing touchdown of the night, a 12-yard scamper with 1:49 left in the game, Everett put a stamp on the team’s second consecutive victory with a leaping effort near the sideline.
“We always give Everett a hard time, so he’s going to be able to give us a hard time now,” Till said with a smile.
Richmond (4-2, 2-0 SAC) struggled on offense to begin with, but eventually found its rhythm at the start of the second quarter.
A patient 10-yard run from Miller, a 7-yard push from sophomore Jaheim Covington and an eight-yard strike from freshman quarterback Caleb Hood to junior wideout Jahyee Stanback all set up Miller’s first score.
The team’s second touchdown of the night followed a couple of runs from Covington, Hood sprinting for a first down, a 28-yard stop-and-go completion to Stanback and another positive gain from Miller. Covington capped off that drive with a 2-yard plow and the Raiders went into halftime with a 14-0 lead.
“I think the big thing was we didn’t panic. We knew want we wanted to do, offensively, to their defense coming into the game,” Till said. “We just stayed with the game plan and eventually things started popping for us.”
On the first drive out of the break, Hood rolled left and was able to hook up with senior wide receiver Da’Shaun Wallace for a 56-yard touchdown to put the home team ahead three scores.
Pinecrest (3-3, 0-2 SAC) answered on the ensuing possesion, however, with a 34-yard touchdown throw from junior quarterback Greg VanSteen to senior wideout Alex Scott.
Both teams would exchange punts over the next three drives before an incomplete pass on fourth down gave the ball back to Richmond, which led to Miller’s second end-zone visit.
Miler finished the conference game with 119 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Hood threw the ball 18 times, completing 13 of those passes for 176 yards and a touchdown. Stanback had the most receptions (5) and receiving yards (70) for the Raiders.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.