By: Brittany Defran & Alec Chessari
Atalya Santos, Correspondent
Tallahassee, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – With a strong end to their regular season, the Rickards Raiders defeated the Chiles Timberwolves 26-21 on a crowded Friday night at Gene Cox Stadium. The Raiders were down by a point with just one minute left, but were able to triumph by an amazing play by wide receiver Kendrick Kelly.
In an aggressive start, Rickards senior Jaden Merritt scored the first touchdown of the night, running 3 yards into the end zone with just 10:02 on the clock. The Raiders found the end zone once more after barely six minutes. Junior Marcus Riley ran for 35 yards and scored the second touchdown which gave the Raiders a 13-3 lead over the Timberwolves.
As they approached the end of the first half, the Chiles defense prevented the Raiders from adding more points to the scoreboard; the Timberwolves sacked the Raiders quarterback, D.J. Phillips, twice. However, the Raiders made sure to retaliate; senior defensive back Anfernee Simmons blocked the Timberwolves’ field goal with just seconds left before half time.
In the third quarter, Marcus Riley made an interception and sprinted 26 yards into the end zone to stretch the Raider lead further, but Chiles refused to away quietly.
Things started to heat up in the fourth quarter as the Timberwolves moved steadily up the field. After a couple of field goals and a touchdown, the Timberwolves were losing but still in the game 20-13. They scored a touchdown followed by a two-point conversion with just 1:07 on the clock, changing the score to 21-20, with the Raiders trailing by a point.
It seemed like the game was over, but the Raiders still had one small chance. With seconds left on the clock, junior wide receiver Kendrick Kelly finished the night by catching a Hail Mary pass, from quarterback Derearl Phillips, and ran it 28 yards into the end zone, giving the Raiders a 26-21 final score.
“He’s going to need to make some more plays like that later on in the season,” said Rickards head coach Quintin Lewis.
The visiting fans went wild, while the Timberwolves fans were in shock. Kelly’s catch certainly made the night for the Raiders.
“We’re trying to make history,” said Lewis. “We’re trying to do something that Rickards High has never done before and that starts with the first round of the playoffs.”
Going into the playoffs with an 8-1 record, the Raiders will play again on November 18.
Franchise Sports Game of the Week Preview: Brittany Defran & Alec Chessari
Franchise Sports High School Football Game of the Week Presented by Brittany Defran & Alec Chessari
Alec Chessari, Correspondent
Tallahassee, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net)-Rickards’ defense was on another level tonight. The Raiders hadn’t beaten Wakulla since 2013, but they came out on top Friday night, winning a 29-21 dog fight.
“Keep battling and keep believing in each other and good things will happen and that showed tonight,” said Raider coach Quinton Lewis.
The Raiders got off to a good start driving the ball down the field on the opening possession. They drove to the Wakulla 8-yard line, but quarterback DJ Philips fumbled into the end zone. The ball went out of bounds for a touch back. The War Eagles then took the ball down the field and scored a touchdown. After a two-point conversion, it was 8-0 Wakulla.
After the opening touchdown, the Raiders defense wasn’t having any of what the War Eagles wanted. Every time it looked like Wakulla had an easy drive, Rickards would bounce back and give the ball back to the offense. They made crucial 4th down stops and didn’t let the War Eagles QB have an effective night throwing the ball. Also, Tavyn Jackson came up with 2 huge interceptions to get the Raiders back on track.
Destin Coates had another great night against a big and strong Wakulla defense. He didn’t get the ball too much in the first half but came up with the last 2 touchdowns to seal the game. Coates carried the ball twenty times for 103 yards and 3 touchdowns.
“Let’s feed that guy (Coates), we didn’t feed him much in the first half but he showed why he’s a great running back,” said Coach Lewis.
Rickards plays Godby next week at Gene-Cox Stadium
Notable Rickards Stats
DJ Phillips 13/20 148yds 1TD
Destin Coates 20 carries 103yds 3TD
Javon Wooten 6 rec 40yds 1 TD
Marcus Riley 3 rec 82yds
Tavyn Jackson 8 tackles 2 INT
Deandre Glover 6 tackles
Javon Peterson 9 tackles
Anfernee Simmons 5 tackles
Record 6-1 (1-0)
Alec Chessari, Correspondent
The Rickards Raiders got their fourth straight win on Friday night, beating Bainbridge 36-34.
Last week, Rickards head coach Quinton Lewis said that the Bainbridge Bearcats were going to play a very physical game. He wasn’t kidding. The Raiders got off to a fast start, only needing one play to get on the board. Javon Wooten took the opening carry 39 yards for a touchdown. DJ Phillips then connected with Zack Graham for a two-point conversion, giving the Raiders an 8-0 lead.
On Bainbridge’s next drive, Rickards forced an early punt. On the first play of the ensuing drive, after a reverse pass, Wooten threw a 40-yard bomb to Kendrick Kelly for a touchdown, putting the Raiders up 14-0 with 8:45 left in the first quarter.
Through the first four games of the season, Rickards running back Destin Coates has rushed for an average of over 100 yards a game. Coates finished tonight’s game with 10 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown.
“We know all Georgia teams are very good against the run, and with Destin Coates rushing for so many yards in the last 4 games, we knew that they were going to be stacking the box,” said Raider coach Quintin Lewis.
Phillips threw the football very well tonight against a physical Bearcats defense. He also showed his footwork in the pocket and his ability to take off and run. Phillips threw the 24 times, completing 15 of those passes for 208 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also ran for over 60 yards tonight and scored a rushing touchdown.
The second half of the game was tough for Rickards. Bainbridge tied the game at 28 with six minutes left in the game.
“Our team new it was going to be a long night tonight, we started off fast and kind of wore down,” said head coach Quinton Lewis.
On Rickards next possession, Phillips took off and ran for a 52-yard touchdown. He then threw a strike to Javon Wooten on a two-point conversion to extend their lead to 36-28.
On Bainbridge’s next possession, the Raider defense made a huge stop on fourth and short, getting the ball back with almost 2 minutes left. Rickards wasn’t able to seal the game, however, as Bainbridge picked off Phillips. The Bearcats went on to score a touchdown, cutting the deficit to two, but were stopped short on a two-point attempt, giving Rickards the win.
Notable Raiders Stats:
Dj Phillips 15/24 208 yards and 2 TD
Joven Wooten 1/1 39 yards and 1 TD
Javon Wooten 4 receptions, 127 yards 2 TD
Kendrick Kelly 4 receptions, 49 yards 1 TD
Alec Chessari, Correspondent
Tallahassee, FLA (franchisesportsonline.net) – It was a slow start for Rickards football, but they were able to weather the storm.
Rickards at Lincoln was a great game and a tremendous effort from both teams. Lincoln got off to a fast start by forcing a fumble that was scooped up by Tre’jan Huggins for a 38-yard touchdown. On the next possession for the Raiders, Huggins comes up huge with an interception that he returned to the Raider’s 10-yard line. The Trojans capitalized on that turnover with another touchdown. Chris Brimm threw a 14-yard dart to Shakel Brown, putting the Trojans up 14-0 with 8:33 left in the first quarter.
“It’s not what happened to you it’s how you react, just keep battling it’s a long game keep fighting,” said Raider coach Quintin Lewis.
Rickards found themselves down early in the football game. Turnovers and penalties were hurting them and started to cause frustration along the Rickards sideline. The Raiders gave up over 21 points just off of turnovers. In the second half the Raiders came out on the field and immediately forced a fumble and Tavyn Jackson came up with the recovery on Lincoln’s 13 yard line. Destin Coates then ran it for a 13 yard touchdown and Derearl Phillips ran the ball in for the 2 point conversion to bring Rickards within 1 with 11:20 left in the third quarter.
“We did a great job of weathering the storm and I am proud of them, they kept fighting,” said Coach Lewis.
The second half was all Rickards. The defense only gave up 7 points in the second half and the offense was starving for the end zone. That’s what got them the 39-37 victory. Tylen Buckner came up with a huge hit on Lincoln’s Willie Williams on 3rd down. That got the stadium rocking. On Rickards next possession, Phillips hit Zachary Graham on a play action pass to convert a 4th down. Justin Cruse came up with a major sack in the 4th quarter on 3rd down with 59 seconds left. It was 4th down for the Trojans and they had to go for it. Javon Wooten broke up the pass and that was the ball game.
“I just knew that we were playing great football we just had to get ourselves out of our own way and once that happened I knew we were going to be successful,” said Coach Lewis.
Destin Coates had an explosive game and rushed for 146 yards on 22 carries and had 4 touchdowns to his name. Phillips was 6 of 12 for 183 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Marcus Riley had two interceptions and two tackles. Jackson and Javon Peterson each had 8 tackles and a fumble recovery to their name.
Nick Pierce, Correspondent
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) – Two weeks ago, Rickards turned the ball over four times in a 27-18 loss to Madison County. Friday night was a different story altogether. The Raiders didn’t turn the ball over at all and put up 37 points in the second half alone. The result was a 41-0 thrashing of the Choctawhatchee Indians.
“We focused on not giving the ball up,” said Rickards coach Quintin Lewis. “We needed to limit our turnovers so that we could be efficient offensively.”
The Raiders (1-1) got off to a fast start. After forcing the Indians to a three and out, Rickards drove 77 yards for the first touchdown of the game. On 3rd and ten from their own 23, D.J. Phillips connected with Ferante Cowart for 32 yards, giving the Raiders the ball at Choctawhatchee’s 45 yard line. Two plays later, Jaden Merritt ran the ball 31 yards, putting Rickards in the Red Zone for the first time. The Raiders gave the next three carries to Destin Coates, who finally punched his way into the end zone on a three-yard plunge.
On their next possession, after driving to the Raider 27, Choctawhatchee (0-3) failed to convert a 4th and 15. Following a Rickards three and out, the Indians got the ball back on the Raider 36. On the first play of the drive, Indian quarterback Brady Ooten found Markus Maloy on a go route, setting up Choctawhatchee at the four. After three unsuccessful plays, Raider cornerback Javon Wooten broke up an Ooten pass in the end zone on 4th and goal from the two.
“We had two great goal line stops,” said Lewis. “We spent a lot of time on it this week. It just shows the effort they put in to learn the game plan.”
Both offenses stalled out on their next possessions, sending Rickards into the half with a 7-0 lead.
The Raiders offense busted the game open in the second half, with four of their five drives ending in touchdowns. Two of those touchdowns came from Coates, including a 94-yard touchdown run in the 4th quarter.
“We knew that gameplan wise, we were going to be running the football tonight,” said Lewis. “Destin Coates busted a long run tonight. He’s one of those guys that needs to get going because the better he gets going, the better we are are offensively.”
Rickards faces East Gadsden next Friday at home.
Choctawhatchee travels to Navarre.
Notable Raider Stats
QB D.J. Phillips – 183 Pass Yards, 1 TD – 59 Rush Yards
RB Jaden Merrit – 62 Rush Yards, 1 TD
RB Destin Coates – 159 Rush Yards, 3 TD
Hallie Berger, Correspondent
Godby defeats Rickards 49-47 advancing to the 5A Regional Final
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (franchisesportsonline.net) –Rickards came into FAMU DRS without Maurice Howard, their star point guard, who was attending a funeral, but the Raiders didn’t let that slow them down. They cruised to 71-45 victory.
Rickards got a jump on the game right from the start. Cameron Enzor led the Raiders on a 12-2 run in the first two-and-a-half minutes, helping Rickards to a 22-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.