Eagles claw past pesky Raiders 47-30 to close out season
Kevin Boozer Staff Writer
WINNSBORO — The Richard Winn Eagles spread their wings and their spread offense clicked on all cylinders Friday night in a 47-30 victory over the Raiders of Jefferson Davis Academy.
Senior Austin Knox electrified the crowd on a touchdown run where he cut back across the field twice to make all eight Raiders miss. For the game, the Eagles rolled up five rushing touchdowns and added two more touchdowns through the air.
Cloudy skies did not produce the deluge in the weather forecast but the game saw a flurry of penalty flags throughout the night as both teams were a bit chippy.
The game featured some unusual moments including an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty being called on RWA’s play-by-play announcer and numerous penalties against both teams. The unsportsmanlike conduct penalties are not what Dickerson expects from his program, though.
“Our guys played as hard as anybody this season and they played within the rules (the way we coach them),” Dickerson said. “The way they approach the game should honor their teammates and school and everything else.”
He said in that respect coaching is like parenting. There were a few players he had to pull aside Friday night and remind them the way Eagles play football but he said that was just an extension of the standards his staff holds his players to each day in practice and throughout the school day.
This season prior to home games the team shared a team meal and then went into the school library to watch a team movie. Usually the movies were sports themed and included Radio, Facing the Giants and The Blind Side.
Dickerson said that team time helped his players bond and he saw this was a special group that not only loved playing the game but enjoyed being around one another.
“This was a great bunch of guys to coach who really bought into that adage, there is no ‘I’ in team,” he said.
Dickerson said his group was focused and even though they had a touchdown called back on a penalty, the group was determined to close the season as winners.
“Our defense knew JDA would run a good bit, so once they started to pass we knew we had the game under control even after they hit a few of them,” he said.
RWA picked off two passes with John Coleman leaping and taking a catch away from a JDA receiver and Conrad Sharpe adding another interception on a fingertips grab.
With just two seniors, the majority of the team returns next year. Dickerson said he hopes gains made in the weight room in off-season conditioning will be the difference maker in two or three point ball games next season.
“I really feel like this group got better each wee and even continued to improve last week in preparation for this game,” he said.
Taylor led all runners with 165 yard on 11 carries and three touchdowns. He also was eight of 12 passing for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Knox finished with 137 yards on six carries and scored two touchdowns.
Taylor hooked up early with Coleman for a 57-yard touchdown pass to open up the scoring. RWA got out to a 20-6 first quarter lead and led throughout. John Coleman had three catches for 75 yards and gained 27 yards on 3 carries. Conrad Sharpe pulled in two passes for 45 yards.
Austin said that run reminded him of last year when he did lots of cut back running.
“Our blocking at the point of attack was sound and he was on his own after that third cutback,” Dickerson said.
RWA finished 5-6 on the year. Matt Taylor and John Coleman made All-Region and Austin Knox was voted Region Athlete of the Year by SCISA coaches. Knox plays in an all-star game in early December.
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