Middle school sports report: XC, soccer scores

Photos by Deon Cranford.

Rockingham wins rivalry game with Hamlet

Last Wednesday, the Rockingham Middle football team ended a three-game sled against Hamlet Middle with a dominant 36-6 away win.

The Rockets came into play on a three-game winning streak and were heavily favored over their rivals, but a quick start from the Red Rams reminded everyone that rivalry games can surprise you.

Hamlet started his opening drive at his own 30 yard line. After the Red Rams lost six yards on their first game from scrimmage, Hamlet quarterback Michael Osentowski connected for 31 yards with Levontae Fisher to move the chains.

Later in the drive, Osentowski found a wide-open Cailin Moore hurtling down the sidelines of Hamlet. Moore made the grave and was knocked down at Rokingham’s 1-yard line for a 32-yard gain. The next game, Keith Cummings bullied his way into the end zone.

The 2-point conversion failed, but the Red Rams still led 6-0 at 4:14 in the first quarter. The impressive 70-yard scoring drive in 8 games gave home team fans something to cheer about, but unfortunately that excitement would be short-lived.

After the subsequent whistle, the Rockets took over their own 40-yard line. Rockingham running back Chance Crowder took a handoff from quarterback Gabe Clark and sprinted 60 yards untouched to Paydirt. Clark brought in the ball for the 2-point conversion and the Rockets took an 8-6 lead that they wouldn’t give up at 3:53 in the opening quarter.

Hamlet was hampered by a costly holding penalty on his next possession, leading to a three-and-out and maintaining momentum with the Rockets. A short punt combined with a great return gave the Rockets the lead at Hamlet’s 30-yard line.

After a holding call, Rockingham was 2nd and 20th on the Hamlet 40. Clark pulled down a high snap, feigned a surrender, and shot through an opening for a 25-yard pickup to the Hamlet 15-yard line.

Two plays later, Crowder pushed forward from 3 yards for his second rushing touchdown of the game. The 2-point conversion failed, but in the second quarter the guests were in the lead at 6:34 and 14:6.

Despite another long connection between Osentowski and Moore (19 yards) on Hamlet’s next possession, the drive failed and the Red Rams had to punt again. Crowder pulled in the punt at Rockingham’s 40 yard line and returned it 60 yards for an obvious touchdown. A holding call ended the big game, however, and the Rockets took over at their own 45-yard line.

For the second time in the game, Rockingham needed just one play to score. Clark hit CJ Covington near the home sideline and Covington broke a tackle and then ran the remaining distance untouched for a 55-yard touchdown. Crowder scored it on a 2-point conversion attempt, increasing Rockingham’s lead to 20-6, leaving 1:21 in the first half.

The Rockets opened the second half at their own 45-yard line. A 30-yard carry from Shamir Jones, a 10-yard carry from Clark, and a 15-yard carry from Crowder are all it took Rockingham to extend their lead.

Crowder’s carry capped the quick scoring drive and gave him his third rushing touchdown of the game. The 2-point conversion attempt was short, but the Rockets held a 28-6 lead with 6:09 remaining in third place.

Crowder had an exceptional day on offense and decided to add important defensive value as well. On the second play of Hamlet’s next possession, Crowder ran into traffic and picked up a Hamlet pass at the Rockingham 40-yard line.

Runs from Clark, Jones and Keviyon McManus got Rockingham up at Hamlet’s 28-yard line. The Rockets were momentarily stalled by a hold call, but a 22-yard pass from Clark to Crowder gave Rockingham a first down at Hamlet’s 20-yard line when the third quarter o’clock was up.

In the opening game of the fourth quarter, Crowder scored his fourth touchdown of the game on a 20-yard streak. He also caught a pass from Clark on a 2-point conversion attempt for the final point of the game, giving the visitor a 36-6 advantage and starting a running clock.

The loss ended Hamlet’s season, but the win secured Rockingham (4-1) a place in the conference championship game. The Rockets meet Carver Middle in a title fight at 6pm on Wednesday at Scotland High School’s Pate Stadium.

Middle school cross country reunion held at Hinson Lake

Last Thursday, Hinson Lake hosted a Southeastern Middle School Athletic Conference cross country meeting. All schools in the conference were represented at the event.

At the girls’ meeting, 49 runners from the 10 participating schools started. Sandy Grove Middle (26 points) won the day just ahead of West Hoke Middle (29 points), followed by Carver Middle (68 points) in third place.

Ellerbe Middle (74 points) finished fourth, Hamlet Middle finished fifth (88 points) and Rockingham Middle (109 points) finished seventh. Cordova Middle did not place because the minimum number of participants was not reached.

First place in the girls meet was taken by Carver Middle’s Khloe Radford, followed by Ella Sheppard (West Hoke) and Harley Hardin (West Hoke) in second and third place respectively. Sandy Grove Middle’s Alondra Cardena (4th) and Charlotte Santiago (5th) completed the top five.

Richmond County’s top 20 finishers were Emily Valencia (Hamlet, 7th), Dayana Franco (Rockingham, 9th), Janet Morales (Hamlet, 12th), Gaela Goodwin (Ellerbe, 17th), Macie King (Ellerbe , 18th), Alexis Wilson (Ellerbe, 19th) and Kalani King (Ellerbe, 20th).

The top five teams in the boys’ clash were East Hoke Middle (19 points), Sandy Grove Middle (48 points), Hamlet Middle (50 points), Carver Middle (67 points) and Rockingham Middle (84).

Ellerbe Middle (111) and Cordova Middle (112) finished seventh and eighth, respectively.

Of the 55 runners who took to the course, East Hoke Middle’s Josiah McCallum crossed the finish line first, followed by Hamlet Middle’s Eduardo Soriano. Also in the top five were Giovanni Patterson (East Hoke, 3rd), Christopher Warren (Sandy Grove, 4th) and Daniel Gomez (Cordova, 5th).

Other top-20 finishers from Richmond County included Angel Huerta (Hamlet, 10th), Antonio Huerta (Hamlet, 13th), Ben Sibley (Ellerbe, 17th) and Liam Ellis (Rockingham, 18th).

The runners meet again Thursday at 4:00 p.m. at Spring Hill Middle School for the conference championship

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