Raiders overcome slow start to take down Westfield 12-6, improve record to 2-0
Published 11:01 am Monday, August 22, 2016
By MICHAEL MURRAY
PERRY – Fresh off of a 28-8 thrashing of Southwest Georgia Academy in the team’s season opener, the Southland Academy Raiders hit the road for Perry to take on traditional GISA AAA powerhouse, the Westfield Hornets.
Though the Raiders got off to a sluggish start in the contest, the Americus team sprung to life in the fourth quarter of the heated match-up to score a pair of touchdowns and cinch a 12-6 road victory. The win marks the first time that the Raiders have defeated the Hornets on the gridiron since the 2004 season and leaves the Southland squad’s record at 2-0 in their 2016 season.
Westfield pulled ahead early in the first half with a touchdown run that gave the home team a 6-0 edge that they would carefully guard through the third frame.
Four minutes into the final quarter, however, Southland’s Logan Morris negated their advantage, capping off a 20-yard drive with an eight-yard rush into the end zone.
With the score tied 6-6 until the final minutes of the game, Southland’s Townsend Ray took off on a 67-yard jaunt, resulting in an apparent touchdown. After consideration, the officials determined that Ray had stepped out of bounds at the 20 and the ball was called back. Much to the delight of the visiting fans, however, Raider running back, Parker Weldon, picked up where Ray left off, taking a handoff and running a sweep 20 yards into the end zone to put the match away.
The Raiders bounced back from a mere 49 total yards in the first half to amass an impressive 228 by the game’s conclusion. Raider quarterback, Alex Roach, connected on five passes in the match before Southland’s Saige Batten stepped in to handle hurling duties, finding one receiver. In total, the pair racked up 42 yards through the air, with Ray and Brody Shattles each pulling down two. Josh McKie and Batten were on the receiving end of the remaining pair.
The Raiders held their hosts to only 160 yards in the game and didn’t allow a single pass reception.
Weldon set the pace for the Raiders, picking up 69 yards on 12 carries for the Southland cause, followed closely by Ray, with 68 yards on seven totes. Logan Morris added another 25 to the team’s final tally, with Stephen Taggart, Roach, and Shattles making up the difference.
The Raiders return to Harvey Simpson Field, in Americus, on Aug. 26 to battle the Westwood Wildcats. The team will then hit the road again on Sept. 2 to take on the Heritage School Hawks in Newnan, Ga.