Raiders edge out Deerfield-Windsor in rivalry game

Published 3:51 pm Monday, November 6, 2023

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ALBANY – The Southland Academy Raiders (SAR) ended their regular season on a positive note by traveling down to Albany and edging out their archrivals Deerfield-Windsor (DWS) 20-14 last Friday evening at Webb Memorial Stadium.

“What a great atmosphere for a game any time these two programs get together,” SAR Head Coach Rod Murray said. “They’re well coached, but we’re proud of our kids and our kids’ effort. All the assistant coaches got this work done. Anytime you put us together, it doesn’t matter what our record is, but I’m tremendously proud of the effort and the passion that this team played with tonight. It was very fun to watch.”

With the win, the Raiders finish the regular season at 4-6 overall and they are in a three-way tie for third place in the GIAA Region 3-AAA standings at 2-3 with Tiftarea Academy and Terrell Academy.

The Raiders won the toss, but elected to defer till the second half. However, SAR tried an on-side kick to open the game and it was recovered by the Knights near midfield.

DWS was able to move the ball down into SAR territory, but the Raiders’ defense was able to force the Knights into a fourth down situation and eventually got the ball back on downs.

On the Raiders’ next possession, quarterback Banks Simmons’ pass was intercepted by Brantley Michlig of DWS. However, neither team could mount a scoring drive in the first quarter and the score was tied at 0-0 going into the second quarter.

With 7:44 to go in the first half, the Knights had the ball, but the Raiders were able to force another fourth down situation, as the Knights were forced to punt.

On the Raiders’ next possession, they tried to mount a scoring drive, but were unable to do so mainly due to a personal foul penalty and were forced to punt.

Southland Academy senior quarterback Banks Simmons is seen here back to pass behind his offensive line.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

On the Knights’ next possession, they were able to move the ball down to the SAR 33-yard line. However, they were forced to attempt a 35-yard field goal and Waylon Marbury’s attempt sailed wide right. At halftime, the score was still tied at 0-0.

The Raiders received the ball to start the second half and thanks to a completion by Simmons to Trey Sellers, SAR was able to move the ball down to the DWS 33-yard line. It looked as if the drive was going to stall again, as the Raiders had committed a false start penalty. However, on fourth down and seven from the DWS 30, Simmons threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Mac McMichael. Cooper Boren’s extra point was good and the Raiders had a 7-0 lead with 6:02 left in the third quarter.

This invigorated the SAR defense, as they were able to force the Knights into another three and out. Then on the Raiders’ next possession, they used the running attack of Will Godwin to get themselves down inside the DWS 20-yard line.

However, the Raiders were penalized with a personal foul penalty, which pushed SAR all the way back to the DWS 48 and it forced the Raiders to punt on fourth down.

However, on the ensuing punt, SAR would get a huge break when the DWS punt returner fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Jackson Avant of SAR.

Southland Academy sophomore linebacker Cade Futch tries to shed his blocker.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

This gave the Raiders another chance to orchestrate another scoring drive, being that they had the ball on the DWS 20. A couple of plays later, Luke Tarrer ran the ball down to the DWS five-yard line. Then on first and goal from the five, Tarrer ran the ball in for another SAR touchdown. Boren’s extra point was good and the Raiders led 14-0 with 10:26 to go in the third quarter.

On the Knights’ next possession, they were able to move the ball down to the SAR 25 yard line partly due to the fact that the Raiders were guilty of another personal foul penalty. Then DWS quarterback Lane Sceals found David Hutchins for a reception at the SAR nine-yard line. A couple of plays later, Sceals found Hutchins again, this time for a DWS touchdown. The extra point was good by Marbury and the Raiders saw their lead cut in half, as they now led 14-7 with 4:30 to go in the game.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Knights tried an on-side kick, but the ball was recovered by the Raiders near midfield. However, on the first play from scrimmage, SAR running back Trey Sellers broke through the DWS defense and scampered 52 yards for a touchdown. The Raiders tried to go for two instead of kicking the extra point, but the two-point try failed. Nevertheless, SAR regained their two score advantage at 20-7.

On the Knights’ next possession, they were able to move the ball down inside the SAR 10-yard line. Then on first and goal from the six, Sceals found Brantley Michlig in the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point by Marbury was good and the Raiders’ lead was cut to 20-14 with 2:32 to go in the game.

On the Raiders’ next possession, they tried to run the ball and run some clock in the process, but they were forced into a fourth and five situation and punted the ball back to the Knights with a little over 50 seconds left in the game.

This gave the Knights one last shot to win the game on a touchdown and extra point.

DWS was able to move the ball up to their own 45-yard line, but on second and 10 from the 45 with six seconds left, the Knights’ effort to come up with a miracle play fell short and the Raiders left Albany with a 20-14 victory.

Trey Sellers led the Raiders’ rushing attack with 88 yards on 11 carries and scored a touchdown and Banks Simmons completed three of seven passes for 89 yards.

The Raiders will now turn their attention to Lakeview Academy, whom they will host in the first round of the GIAA Class AAA State Playoffs on Friday, November 10. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.