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
By: Brittany Defran & Alec Chessari
On the slate for today…
High school football playoff update
FSU women’s basketball battles UCONN
FAMU football’s comeback win overshadowed by brawl
FSU football dominates Boston College
FSU basketball 2-0 to start the season
Destin Coates has received quite a bit of attention from colleges for the performances he displays every Friday night. Through the nine game regular season he has rushed for 1,170 yards on 129 carries along with 17 touchdowns.
The Rickards Raider’s junior running back played in all nine games this season. He helped his team finish the regular season on an eight-game win streak. The Raiders are 8-1, and 2-0 in their district 5A. They won the city championship and also won the district championship for the first time in 15 years.
“I think we are the best team in Tallahassee. We can make a state run and be state champions for the first time in school history,” Coates said. “For us to go far just [we have to] staying composed and staying disciplined.”
Coates averages nine yards per carry and 135 rushing yards a game. He has received four offers this season from the University of Alabama Birmingham, University of Central Florida, University of Southern Mississippi and Troy. Based on his play he could have more offers coming. He ranks in the top-40 running backs in the state of Florida.
“He’s doing a great job. He is learning how to work hard, how to continue to push himself, how to reach limits that he has never reached before,” Raiders head coach Quinton Lewis said. “I think that’s his biggest thing. He comes out here every day ready to work, ready to compete and ready to get better. We have been seeing him challenge his teammates now for them to be great also and now it is all meshing together.”
Coates isn’t only a star on the football field but also a star in the classroom. He has maintained above a 3.0 GPA taking higher level courses. With his GPA and ACT scores being well over the NCAA D-1 athlete’s requirements he is eligible to play immediately at the next level.
“I can’t say enough about his GPA and his 22 or 25 on ACT,” Lewis said. “He is a great student, even when the guidance counselor challenged him to take harder courses he accepted those challenges and is making straight A’s right now. He is a great student and that’s the biggest thing.”
Raiders’ running back coach Devin Rispress has been working with Coates since June and believes he may be the best running back to touch Rickards campus by the time he graduates. Rispress said he is a man amongst boys when on the football field. Rispress said he believes Coates is a few light years ahead of his age.
“I have worked on blocking keeping his composure and besides that he’s a well-rounded running back and has a god given talent,” Raiders running back coach Devin Rispress said. “Besides that he has come in polished but I polished him a little more with keeping his composure, blocking and also reading the holes and being a little more patient.”
Coates’s work ethic shows up in the way he plays the game and also the way he makes sure the team keeps their composure on Fridays. He lets his play in the game do the talking.
“His work ethic is real good, we can improve on it a little more,” coach Rispress said. “The only reason I say that is because we are going to get him on the track. We are going to get him faster, bigger and stronger. He comes out and works hard every day. There hasn’t been a day since he came here back in June that he hasn’t worked hard or even make me have to tell him to go harder.”
Coates feels more comfortable after he transferred from Mosley to Rickards. He has dreams of playing on Sundays in the future.
“I feel like it’s been the best decision I made thus far to come back home and play for Rickards high school. We beat Wakulla and beat Godby and won the district championship for the first time in 15 years,” Coates said. “My goal is to make it to the NFL and one day be able to take care of all my family.”
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.