ROCKINGHAM — There was no need for any late-game homecoming heroics this time.Richmond Senior scored two touchdowns and recorded a safety in the span of 2 minutes and 34 seconds in the first quarter to pull away for a 50-0 victory over Purnell Swett Friday night at Raider Stadium.
After the teams exchanged punts on their first possessions of the game, the Rams started their next drive at their own 10. On the first play, the snap to quarterback Thriston Lowry bounced through his legs and into the end zone. Lowry smothered the football for a safety.
Following the free kick, the Raiders took over at their own 46. Brent Flowers found Raheem Bowden for a 54-yard bomb for the score. It was the first of three touchdowns the duo would record on the night.
“I thought at the time we were playing well, then we gave them two points,” Purnell Swett coach Mark Heil said. “Then we give them great field position. We have had a hard time all year against athletic teams and 81 (Bowden) is a good, big receiver. He just killed us.”
Purnell Swett had a three-and-out on its next possession and a 14-yard punt gave the ball back to Richmond at the Ram 27. Three plays later, Flowers and Bowden hooked up on a 28-yard pass to put the Raiders up 16-0.
Richmond coach Paul Hoggard said Purnell Swett’s defensive strategy was to stop the run and force his team to move the ball through the air. The Raiders ended up with 458 yards of total offense and 321 of that on ground, the Rams limited them to 105 rushing yards in the first half. And 76 of those yards came on Shavar Little’s touchdown little in the second quarter.
“They really stacked them in the box and made it tough,” Richmond coach Paul Hoggard said of the Rams’ defensive strategy. “We saw they were in man coverage against Raheem and we were able to get the ball to him.
Bowden finished the contest with six receptions for 130 and three scores. Little rushed for a game-high 135 yards and a touchdown. Diquon Cox added 133 yards on the ground. Both Little and Cox were forced to leave the contest with injuries. Hoggard added Flowers and Jesse Williams were held out with injuries as well.
“We are depleted in the backfield,” Hoggard said. “Only Raekwon (McKinnon) is healthy.”
The Rams (2-6, 0-2) were unable to sustain any drives against the Raiders, finishing with 170 yards of total offense. Braylan Locklear rushed for a team-high 84 yards.
Heil said Locklear’s performance was the lone bright spot for the Rams.
“I just wish he had some breakaway speed,” Heil said. “He runs really hard. They have kids that can breakaway for 60-yard touchdowns. We don’t have any kids like that right now.”
It was the first shutout on the season for Richmond and the first time Purnell Swett has been blanked as well. The last time the Raiders held an opponent scoreless was last season, when they pulled the feat against the Rams on Oct. 5.
“Last week they came up with the stop to win the game,” Hoggard said of his defense. “Even though they haven’t been playing as well as they would like, they hadn’t been shutout all season. We played a lot of younger guys in the fourth quarter, so it is always good to get the shutout.”
In other Southeastern Conference games, Scotland rolled past Pinecrest 75-28. The Fighting Scots improve to 8-0 on the season, 2-0 in the SEC, while the Patriots fall to 7-1 and 1-1. Hoke County earned its first SEC win, stopping Lumberton 38-21. The Bucks are now 2-6 and 1-1 and the Pirates remain winless, falling to 0-8 and 0-2.
Richmond (7-1, 2-0) will return to action 7:30 p.m. Friday at home against Lumberton. Purnell Swett will travel to Southern Pines to battle Pinecrest.
— Shawn Stinson is the Sports Editor of the Richmond County Daily Journal