Alec Chessari, Correspondent ( )
Tallahassee, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – The Rickards Raiders had a home playoff game against the West Florida Jaguars that came down to the final drive of the game for the Raiders. Rickards won in a nail biter 33-30.
Rickards (10-1) got off to an early start scoring on the first drive of the game. DJ Phillips found Marcus Riley for the 12-yard reception to put the Raiders on the Jaguar 26-yard line. On the next play DJ Phillips checked his reads and found no receivers open down the field and scrambled 26 yards for a touchdown. The Raiders missed the PAT giving them an early 6-0 lead.
“It was a pretty good game, West Florida is very good defensively,” said Raiders head coach Quinton Lewis. “They haven’t given up more than 14 points a game in the last eight games and did a lot of things on defense that were complicated and that stagnated our offense a little bit.”
The Jaguars (9-3) forced the Raiders to punt while they were backed up into their own end zone. The Raiders snap was low and sailed right across the grass and through the back of the end zone for a safety for West Florida.
The Jaguars capitalized on the miscue by the Raiders and scored on the next possession giving them a 9-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Raiders would then go into halftime trailing 16-12.
“They say big things come in small packages,” said Lewis. “I told them at halftime just don’t give up, lets battle it out these next 24 minutes and see if we can win a football game.”
Coming out of halftime both teams turned the ball over on their opening drives. West Florida got it together late in the third quarter when Devin Abrams broke free from multiple tackles and scored on a 16-yard carry making the lead 23-12.
Next drive for the Raiders, DJ Phillips found Javon Wooten for a gain of 35 yards bringing Rickards to the 15-yard line. Phillips carried the ball for a gain of ten yards to bring them within five yards of cutting the lead. Destin Coates would then take the handoff and leap over the line and into the end zone for a touchdown. Raiders still trailing 23-18.
The Raiders found themselves trailing 30-18 with 9:30 remaining in the ball game until Phillips found a hole and broke free for the touchdown to cut the deficit to just five points with seven minutes remaining.
Rickards turned the ball over with 4:52 remaining and down five points still. Their defense forced West Florida to punt with 2:07 in the ball game. Phillips converted a 4th and 15 on a pass to Wooten who kept their hopes of scoring alive. With 30.3 seconds remaining Phillips found Wooten again, this time for the game winning touchdown and the 2-point conversion was good.
DJ Phillips 11/24 264 yards 2TD and 16 carries 94 yards 2 TD
Destin Coates 12 carries 55 yards 1 TD
Javon Wooten 6 receptions 117 yards 2 TD
Javon Peterson 9 tackles 1 INT
Justin Cruse 11 tackles (3 for loss)
Tavyn Jackson 7 tackles 1 pass deflect
Tyler Buckner 4 tackles 2 sacks