Raiders tame ‘Cats

By Daron Barefoot - Sports Writer

Sha’King Warren runs the ball against Hobbton.

Raekwon Bryant runs the ball amidst a host of Raiders.

Midway and Hobbton renewed an old rivalry to kick off each team’s 2016 football season, as the Wildcats paid a visit to Raider Stadium for the opener. In a game that initially began Friday night and was delayed until Monday due to thunderstorms, Midway won the battle of momentum swings to earn the win, 33-15.

In the first part of the game on Friday, each team traded possessions, with Midway going three and out and Hobbton turning the ball over on a lost fumble after moving the ball deep into Raider territory. That’s when play was suspended, and with 7:19 remaining in the opening quarter, the game was officially postponed.

After play resumed, Midway got right to work, scoring a touchdown on the opening play of the game after quarterback Austin Raynor connected with Dashawn Tonge for the 62-yard passing score. The PAT was unsuccessful, but Midway led 6-0.

Each team traded possessions as the first quarter came to close with Midway still on top 6-0.

Each team continued to battle and trade possessions throughout the second quarter, however, Midway would increase their lead just before halftime.

With 25 seconds left in the half, Raynor found the end zone on a 5-yard quarterback keeper. The 2-point conversion was successful following the run-in by Tonge, giving Midway the 14-0 lead at halftime.

After the break, the Wildcats opened the second half with what appeared to be a promising drive. The drive began on the Hobbton 25-yard line and following numerous successful running plays the Wildcats found themselves deep into Raider territory. Hobbton couldn’t cash in, however, as the Raiders thwarted their hopes on a 4th-down sack.

The Raiders were back in business, taking over on their own 27-yard line.

With 3:37 remaining in the third quarter, the Raiders capped off an 8-play, 73-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown run by Shaking Warren. The PAT was successful as Midway now led 21-0.

Just when it looked as things were slipping away from Hobbton, the Wildcats found new life on the ensuing kickoff. Omar Farrior took the kick and was off to the races, scampering 70 yards for the kickoff return touchdown. Hobbton would convert the 2-point conversion to close within 21-8, 3:19 remaining in the third quarter.

Things got even more interesting on the following Midway possession, as the Raiders coughed up a pick-6. Raynor’s pass deflected off the fingertips of Jake Clark and right into the hands of Hobbton’s Josh Polk, who had nothing but green standing between him and the end zone. Polk returned the interception 60 yards and the after the successful PAT, Midway’s lead had been diced to 21-15 headed to the fourth quarter.

On the ensuing Midway drive, the Raiders presented Hobbton with a golden opportunity, as they were faced with 4th and 10 deep in Wildcat territory. The Raider offense came through, as Raynor completed a first down pass play to Colby Pope. On the very next play, Clark found the end zone on a 9-yard pass play, putting Midway now ahead 27-15 after the failed PAT.

The Hobbton offense never threatened again and Midway would add one more score with 4:24 remaining after Brian Lucas scored on a short run-play to make it 33-15.

The Raider special teams unit recovered the kick on a squib and the Raiders ran the clock out to seal the victory.

After the game, Midway head coach Jason Fussell noted that his team came a little sluggish.

“We come out a little sluggish early, which I credit to it being Monday night,” he admitted.

Fussell went on to praise his teams efforts in the victory.

“We settled down and our energy picked up as the game went on,” he continued. “Our running backs followed some great blocking from Malik Williams and Dustin Holland,” he concluded.

On the opposite side of the field, Wildcats head coach Robert Hill Jr, discussed his areas of concern going forward.

“I told the guys after the game our effort was much better in the second half,” he began.

“But, we have to work on our discipline. We had too many penalties; penalties we can control and shouldn’t be committing. If we can get those under control, good things will start happening. We’re going to get better, we just have to be more disciplined,” he concluded.

Offensively, the Raiders were led by Sha’King Warren with 16 carries for 107 yards and Jake Clark with 10 carries for 77 yards. Austin Raynor was 5-of-8 on passing for 110 yards, including the 60yd strike to Tonge.

Derrick Loftis and Clark led Midway defensively with 7 tackles for Loftis and 6 for Clark.

For Hobbton, Raekwon Bryant led the Wildcats offensively with 114 yards on 12 carries and 1 catch for 16 yards. Josh Polk had 52 yards on 9 carries and Omar Farrior had a 60-yard TD kickoff return.

Defensively, Bryant had six tackles, Bryan Parker five tackles and one sack, and Greyson Rodgers and Dacorris Morrison each had five tackles. Polk also had the 60-yard interception return for touchdown.

Midway will return to action when they host Princeton on Friday. That game is set for 7:30 p.m. Hobbton is also back in action on Friday, hosting Chatham Central at 7 p.m.

Sha’King Warren runs the ball against Hobbton.’King Warren runs the ball against Hobbton.

Raekwon Bryant runs the ball amidst a host of Raiders. Bryant runs the ball amidst a host of Raiders.

By Daron Barefoot

Sports Writer

Melony Henderson can be reached a [email protected] or 910-376-2127.

Melony Henderson can be reached a [email protected] or 910-376-2127.

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