RAEFORD — The Richmond football team crushed Hoke County on Friday.
It scored four touchdowns in both the first and second halves, picked up a total of 277 yards on the ground and cruised to a 56-7 victory over the Bucks. Because his team had such a dominant lead, first-year head coach Bryan Till was able to field a handful of players who usually don’t see much game time.
“You can’t simulate experience,” he said. “We weren’t just clearing the bench so they can get in. All of our guys can play, and they understand the system, but speed is important. So being able to get those minutes are huge.”
Richmond (5-3, 3-1 SAC) started off Friday’s game a little shaky.
After receiving the opening kickoff, freshman quarterback Caleb Hood overthrew senior wideout Da’Shaun Wallace — on the second play from scrimmage — and was picked off by Hoke free safety Daquan Murchison.
Hoke (0-8, 0-4 SAC) couldn’t capitalize, however, as it committed a false start, quickly ran through three plays without reaching the first down marker, and then punted the ball away deep in its own territory.
And that’s when the scoring started for the Raiders, as senior Kaleb Douglas fielded the punt at the 45-yard line and raced down the left sideline for the game’s first touchdown — his second special-teams score of the season.
“Kaleb did a great job and we had a lot of guys really aware. We could’ve had some blocks in the back, but we didn’t,” Till said. “That really flipped us around and got everybody excited about the ball game. And we played well from then on out.”
An interception by senior safety Shane Summey gave Richmond the ball right back and set up its third offensive possession on the night. Senior tailback Dante Miller would cap the five-play drive with a nine-yard plunge, putting the visiting team ahead 14-0 with 3:44 left in the first quarter.
The second quarter started in the middle of Hoke’s third drive, which ended in its lone score of the night. On fourth down, inside Raider territory, senior quarterback Kevin Thorpe hooked up with senior wideout Andre Pegues — an ECU commit — for a 41-yard touchdown.
Richmond would answer within the next 30 seconds of gameplay, as sophomore running back Jaheim Covington broke free on the first play and sprinted 62 yards to the end zone. Eight minutes later, Miller broke a couple of tackles on his way to a 30-yard touchdown run — giving his team a 28-7 advantage heading into the half.
“We have the hardest working O-line in the state. I wouldn’t want to run behind anybody else but them,” Miller said. “We’ve got Daryn Mason, Chase Coulthard, Jake Ransom, Austin Watson…what else could you ask for?”
Miller’s final rushing touchdown, with 7:50 left in the third quarter, kicked off the Raiders’ dominant second half. Senior wide receiver Clint Snipes returned a blocked punt — blocked by Summey — 13 yards for a score, junor wideout Jahyee Stanback took a screen pass 25 yards to the end zone, and then senior running back Jeremy Wall punched it in from two yards out to seal the deal.
The Raiders got 166 rushing yards and three touchdowns from Miller, who was named to the Shrine Bowl earlier this week, on 10 carries. Covington and Wall added 94 and 33 yards on the ground, respectively. Hood completed nine passes for 114 yards and a score. Stanback had the most receiving yards (52), but junior Jordyn Wall finished with the most receptions (6).
“I think this is a big confidence booster for us. This is what we needed to get us on the road we want to be on to beat Lumberton, Scotland and Seventy-First,” Miller said. “They’re up next.”
Richmond is back at home next Friday, after spending the last two weeks on the road, to host Lumberton for Homecoming.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow the sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.
A host of Richmond defenders close in to tackle Hoke County’s Nykeem Shaw on the last play of Friday’s football game in Raeford. The Raiders only allowed 201 total yards of offense in their 56-7 victory.