ROCKINGHAM — It would be difficult to go on the road and knock off the state's No. 2 4A team even while healthy.
Imagine trying to do it with a quarterback making his second career start.
This is the task facing Richmond Senior in its annual matchup with its rivals to the east, Scotland.
With Brent Flowers on the shelf, Montek Johnson will once again be under center for the Raiders. The junior has played the majority of the season at wide receiver for the Raiders, making two receptions for 24 yards.
Johnson was forced into duty at quarterback against Lumberton, leading the team to a 55-6 victory. Johnson began last week's contest at Pinecrest at his normal wide receiver position before being shuffled back under center after Flowers suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter.
Johnson went 5 for 10 for 101 yards and two interceptions against the Pirates and was 1-of-7 for 25 yards in the loss to the Patriots.
Richmond coach Paul Hoggard said without three-year starter Flowers at quarterback, the team would make some small changes to its scheme. Unlike the previous two contests, Johnson has had a full week of practice to get ready for the position switch.
“You have to modify your offense and see what gives you the best chance to win,” Hoggard said. “I think it makes it a lot better for Montek because we gave him the game plan. Our running backs will handle the ball a lot more than they normally would.
“You can't make wholesale changes, but you have to tweak the offense because of the change in personnel.”
Johnson added he was happy to have the week to prepare for the Fighting Scots.
“I feel more comfortable,” Johnson said.
Hoggard said backups Tyler Calhoun and Luke Hoggard have packages designed for them in case either are needed to step in for Johnson.
The Scots come into the contest sporting the best scoring defense in the Southeastern Conference, allowing 16 points a game. Linebacker Marquis Williams leads the team with 65 tackles and fellow linebacker Tyquan Ingram is second with 59. K.J. Leggett has a eight sacks on the season.
Despite losing top players from last season like Artemis Robinson, Hoggard said this year's unit is very good.
“They're big, strong, athletic and they run around,” he said. “They have a great scheme and they are coached very well. It's going to be a good opportunity for us.”
Before the season started Scotland coach Richard Bailey was excited about his team's defense and has been surprised with how well it has played all season.
“Most of the points we have given up have been by the backups,” Bailey said. “I'm an offensive-minded coach, but I always make sure we play good defense. I think that gives you a chance to win conference championships and state championships, but today you can't just play good defense.”
Scotland is also the top scoring offense in the SEC, averaging 44.7 points a game. Richmond is second, scoring 43.9 a contest.
Leading the way for the Scots is last season's conference offensive player of the year, Jaylend Ratliffe. The junior has accounted for 2,359 yards of total offense and 31 touchdowns this year.
“He's a really good athlete,” Richmond defensive coordinator Mark Arthur said. “They like to spread the field and try to get him in favorable matchups.”
Arthur thought his unit played one of its best games against Pinecrest because the players are understanding their roles and assignments.
“Overall we played pretty well,” he said. “The last touchdown they scored, a kid missed an assignment. Our kids did a good job overall, I wish we would put a complete game together. We will have to Friday because they are so good on offense.”
JV Raiders finish season undefeated
ROCKINGHAM — Richmond Senior junior varsity coach Jason Norton took an unexpected bath with just under a minute to go in the contest with Scotland.
Norton's players surprised him by dumping the bucket over his head to celebrate Thursday's 49-22 victory over the Fighting Scots to complete a second straight undefeated season.
“I will take a cold bath all the time for a 10-0 record and a conference championship,” Norton said. “We ran the gauntlet…Jack Britt, Butler, Scotland.”
Quientel Goodwin scored three times and Jayvon Boyer added two touchdowns in the win. Richmond's defense added two scores of their own.
Ellerbe closes out season with win
ROCKINGHAM — The Ellerbe Middle School football team avenged a loss to Rohanen the previous week with a 28-22 victory Tuesday afternoon.
Armaade Horton scored the game-winning touchdown with 16 seconds remaining in the contest.
The Wildcats finish their season with a 2-4 record.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.