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.