Raiders drop Patriots, improve to 10-0

Richmond hosts Scotland Nov. 7 for conference championship

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

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ROCKINGHAM — The last time Richmond played Pinecrest, the stadium lights went out.

On Friday night, though, the lights stayed on and everyone’s eyes stayed wide open. It was a game no one wanted to miss.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Desmond Marshall hauls in a pass from quarterback Luke Hoggard with 6:03 left in the first quarter for a 6-0 Richmond lead.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Desmond Marshall hauls in a pass from quarterback Luke Hoggard with 6:03 left in the first quarter for a 6-0 Richmond lead.

Miles Grant’s rushing touchdown with three minutes and 31 seconds to play in the fourth quarter lifted the Raiders over the visiting Patriots 28-21. The score was set up by Luke Hoggard’s 16-yard drive-saving pass to junior wide receiver Lavell Ellerbe on a pass that was nearly uncatchable; high, Ellerbe jumped, made the catch and fought for a first down to the 22-yard-line.

The win moved Richmond to 10-0 as the Raiders play host to arch-rival Scotland (9-1) next week for the Southeastern Conference championship. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Raider Stadium.

It was only the second game of the year in which the Raiders were held to fewer than 41 points. The Patriots were led by junior quarterback Christian Ledbetter, who smartly directed a time-consuming offensive scheme that gave the Raiders defense fits all night.

But just when it mattered most — specifically, with 2:18 left in the fourth quarter — the Richmond defense came up with the stop it needed. On fourth down as the clock neared the two-minute mark, the Raiders swarmed the Patriots in the backfield for a loss and a turnover on downs.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Juwan Marshall stopped Pinecrest's Bradley Black.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Juwan Marshall stops Pinecrest’s Bradley Black.

The Raiders scored first when quarterback Luke Hoggard connected with a wide open Desmond Marshall with 6:03 left in the first quarter. The kick failed, so the Raiders took a 6-0 lead into the second quarter. Patriots receiver Bradley Black scored on a run with 8:46 remaining in the second quarter. Adrian Ryner II’s kick was good, putting Richmond in a 7-6 deficit.

Grant came up big for the Raiders on their next possession. The senior running back was caught in the backfield on a sweep to the left, but he jukes away from the sidelines and out of the clutches of several Patriots defenders all the way to the end zone for a 12-7 Richmond advantage. There was a flag on the play, but it didn’t negate Grant’s score. The two-point conversion was successful, earning the Raiders a 14-7 edge.

Pinecrest knotted the game 14-14 with 17.2 seconds left in the first half. Ledbetter hit Michael Jacobs for a scoring pass and the kick was good.

Grant finished with 13 carries for 90 yards and his 21st and 22nd touchdowns on the season. The performance lifted Grant to 985 yards rushing through 10 games.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Juwan Marshall pops the ball loose from the Patriots receiver Michael Jacobs.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Juwan Marshall pops the ball loose from the Patriots receiver Michael Jacobs.

Quientel Goodwin added 60 yards on the ground and a score and Desmond Marshall caught Luke Hoggard’s scoring pass midway through the first quarter. Hoggard finished 8-for-9 through the air for 122 yards and the touchdown pass to Marshall. Hoggard added 47 yards on eight carries.

Game notes: Richmond improves to 34-3 in the all-time series against the Patriots. … Pinecrest won in 2013 (21-7), 2008 (31-28) and 1992 (27-26). … The Raiders entered the game averaging 47.7 points per game. … The North Carolina High School Athletic Association releases the state playoff bracket next weekend.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Raiders linebacker Gus Chambers gives chase to a Patriots running back in the first half.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Raiders linebacker Gus Chambers gives chase to a Patriots running back in the first half.

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