Raiders advance in playoffs with 35-24 victory over Trinity Christian-Dublin
Published 12:12 pm Saturday, October 28, 2017
By MICHAEL MURRAY
DUBLIN – The Southland Academy Raiders hit the road for Dublin on the evening of Oct. 27 to participate in the first round of the Georgia Independent High School football playoffs, dueling the Trinity Christian-Dublin Crusaders.
After a fierce battle, the Raiders emerged victorious 35-24 in the tilt, punching their ticket to the second round of the Class AAA playoffs. The Southland squad will hit the road for Sharpsburg on Nov. 3 to duke it out with the Trinity Christian-Sharpsburg Lions in round two of their post-season action.
With the win, the Raiders improve their overall record to 10-0 on the 2017 season while the Crusaders draw the curtain on their campaign with a 7-5 mark.
The Crusaders drew first blood in the match, kicking a field goal in the first quarter before Southland neutralized the threat early in the second frame.
Three minutes into the second quarter, Southland quarterback, Alex Roach, found Parker Weldon in the end zone for the game’s first six-pointer. Southland place kicker, Zane Hines, then hit the first of many successful PAT kicks to put the visitors ahead 7-3.
With a four-point lead heading into the second half, the Raiders got off to a rocky start when they were held to three and out on their initial drive. Trinity followed with a touchdown to retake the advantage.
The hosts’ lead turned out to be short-lived, however.
On their second possession of the second half, the Raiders took off on a touchdown drive propelled by completions to Luke Law and Chandler Studdard. Clay Owens added a pair of first downs to the Raider progress before punching in the touchdown on a 16-yard rush at the 19 second mark in the third frame to put Southland back on top, where they would remain for the remainder of the game.
The Raiders struck again four minutes into the final stanza when a pair of hard rushes from Brody Shattles and Owens landed the team at their opponents’ eight-yard line. From there, Owens was able to bypass the Crusader defensive line once more and break into the end zone. Hines then nailed his third PAT of the night, leaving the Raiders up 21-10 with 7:56 left to play.
Four and a half minutes later, Shattles made a hard run for the Raiders, nearly scoring, but was stopped at the Crusader two-yard line. Roach then executed a quarterback sneak to break the plane once more and give the Raiders a 28-10 edge.
Trinity answered with a 96-yard touchdown pass and added a two-point conversion to narrow the gap to 28-18 at the 2:00 mark.
On the first play of the Raiders’ answering drive, Owens took off on a 52-yard jaunt that landed him in the end zone for the third time in the game, putting the game out of reach for the hosts.
Unwilling to give up, in the final seconds of the game, the Crusaders added another touchdown and a two-point conversion to their tally as the Raiders celebrated the 35-24 victory at the final buzzer.
Roach completed three of five pass attempts for a total of 98 yards through the air. Weldon was on the receiving end of two of Roach’s tosses for 79 yards gained, while Studdard pulled in the third pass for an additional 19 yards.
The Raiders covered 213 total yards on the ground, with Owens setting the pace for the visitors. Owens contributed 134 yards to the Raider cause on 21 carries. Shattles added another 79 yards on eight totes.
The Crusaders’ passing game was strong in the match, with 243 yards covered through the air for the hosts. Trinity won the distance battle with 342 all-purpose yards accumulated in the match.
In total, the Raiders executed 39 offensive plays to Trinity’s 60.