ROCKINGHAM – The Richmond Senior High School junior varsity soccer team picked up a point at halftime and claimed their third straight win on Thursday.
Hosting Hoke County’s Week 2 of the Sandhills Athletic Conference, the JV Raiders used a strong second half to beat the Bucks 29-14.
Richmond and head coach Patrick Hope beat Hoke County 22-6 in the last two quarters, improving to 3-3 overall and 2-0 against SAC opponents.
The Bucks took an early 2-0 lead after blocking a punt attempt and Richmond won them back in the end zone for a safety.
Sophomore Isaiah Lockhart responded with a touchdown run from within the five-yard line 6:11 in the second quarter. Freshman kicker Billy West crossed to the point after attempting to put the Raiders 7-2 ahead.
In the closing minute of the first half, Hoke County took the lead with a long touchdown pass. The attempt at change was of no use, the Bucks led 8-7 at the break.
Sophomore Isaiah Lockhart (5) runs the ball for a big win in Thursday’s win. (Kyle Pillar / The Richmond Observer)
“It was a tail made in two halves,” said Hope. “There were many self-inflicted wounds of ours early on. We’ve felt really good about how we’ve been playing for the past two weeks and we’ve been warning the guys all week that Hoke County would appear ready to play.
“We just didn’t have the energy in the first half and lost a point. It’s a point we’ve been to before, but we got over it and made some smart games in the second half. “
Early in the third quarter, second defensive back Rashad Gilbert intercepted to give Richmond the ball at his own 15-yard line. In the first game, Lockhart carried the ball 52 yards to the Hoke County’s 33-yard line.
That put a score in a seat a few games later from freshman quarterback Dillon Veach to second tailback Jaliel Greene. To the right, Green caught the throw and rounded the edge to score from nine meters away.
The PAT was good from West and Richmond took the lead 14-8 in the third with 5:52 minutes.
The JV Raiders’ next point would come on a second year safety from Lareese Swinnie on a blocked punt just 45 seconds in the fourth quarter.
After Hoke County was secured on its own 9-yard line, Swinnie hit the ball down and he jumped out of the end zone to extend Richmond’s lead to 16-8.
Sophomore Lareese Swinnie (21) blocks a punt for a safety in the fourth quarter. (Kyle Pillar / The Richmond Observer)
Freshman wide receiver Raymond Knotts found the end zone on the following drive and caught a 59-yard touchdown pass from Veach. Knotts intercepted the ball on a crossing route over the middle in midfield before it burst over the left sideline.
Another West PAT was true and the Raiders jumped 23-8 with 9:58 remaining in the game.
After Hoke County was forced to poke, Veach threw his second touchdown pass of the game, this to freshman Javion Smith. Smith moved out of the right apartment, caught the ball, and worked his way down the sideline and into the end zone.
Despite a failed PAT attempt, the JV Raiders usually held a sovereign 29-8 lead with 8:06 minutes.
Both teams traded possessions for the remainder of the game until Hoke County scored a touchdown pass 28.6 seconds from time. The conversion wasn’t good and Richmond was running out of time to win.
Sophomore Rashad Gilbert (4) shows his interception in the third quarter. (Kyle Pillar / The Richmond Observer)
“Isaiah ignited us in the second half and Dillon did a better job with some of his reads in the run-passing game,” said Hope. “We were able to get Raymond and Javion a score and that opened it all up for us. Our special teams and the defense also played great.
“Jaleil’s score and then Raymond’s touchdown were turning points for us. After the fuse we needed another shot to get him out of range and this is where the pass to Javion came in. “
The JV Raiders will be looking for their fourth straight win at Union Pines High School next Thursday. The kick-off is at 6:30 p.m.