Raiders setback by Valwood in tough road match
By GLENDON POE
HAHIRA – The Southland Raiders braved the constant downpour on Friday night, hitting the road to face the Valwood Valiants in Hahira. The Valiants grabbed hold of a big, early lead and defeated the Raiders 38-6 in a GISA Region 3-AAA game.
The victory improves Valwood to a 5-1 overall record and a 2-0 mark in region play. Southland fell to 1-5 and 0-3 in the region. Friday was just the second meeting between the schools since 2001.
The Valiants raced ahead by four touchdowns within a short span in the opening period after recovering a fumble on the opening kickoff.
Valwood then recovered an onside kick on the Southland 46. The Valiants then took off on a 46-yard touchdown run.
Southland ran two plays, then fumbled a snap on third down, but recovered forcing a punt. Valwood blocked the punt, allowing them to run 11 yards into the end zone for another touchdown.
It seemed that everything that could go wrong for the Raiders continued to go wrong.
Another fumble in the wet playing conditions on the Raiders’ follow-up drive was recovered by Valwood on the vistors’ 44-yard line. The Valiants proceeded to march down to the Raider 17.
A Valwood running back took a handoff the rest of the way down the left sideline for the fourth score of the night, giving the Valiants a 25-0 advantage at the 8:15 mark in the first.
Valwood’s quarterback then found an open receiver in the end zone at the onset of the second quarter to bring the score to 32-0.
The rain picked up at the start of the third. Valwood fumbled a snap on its opening drive and Southland recovered. A punt slipped away near the Raiders’ goal line and Valwood managed to recover, plowing their way into the end zone for a 3-yard score with 2:36 remaining.
The Raiders’ lone score late in the third capped a 63-yard drive. Stephen Turton ran for a 49-yard touchdown.
Turton rushed for 76 yards and had one catch for 15 yards. Townsend Ray finished with 33-yards rushing.
The Raiders return to the field on October 9, hosting Deerfield-Windsor. They will then go on the road on Oct. Oct. 16, traveling to Camilla to battle the Westwood Wildcats.
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