Raiders heading to Springfield for a District 7-2A game

Published 6:33 am Friday, October 14, 2016

Pine will attempt to clinch a winning season tonight, as the Raiders take to the road to play against Springfield in a District 7-2A game.

The Raiders enter tonight with a 4-2 overall record and 1-2 in the district.

Pine snapped its two-game losing streak last week with a 28-20 win over Archbishop Hannan. The Raiders are the seventh-rated team in the unofficial LHSAA Class 2A power rankings.

Pine won last year’s game, 27-20.

The Raiders’ defense continues to play well. Since week two, no opponent has scored more than 22 points against the Raiders, and four teams have tallied 20 points or fewer.

Pine coach Bradley Seal said defensive line coach Walter Denton, who came to Pine with more than 20 years of head coaching experience, has done a really good job.

“I think our defensive line is playing as well as anybody around here,” Seal said. “I also think another part of it is that we’ve been in the same defense for a few years now, so everybody knows their role.”

Seal also noted that outside linebackers, Jarwin Jordan and Rion Terrell, are playing well.

“I thought last year our defensive line played well, Tate had a great year and Chris Gordon had a great year, but one thing that has improved has been the outside linebacker play,” Seal said.

Offensively, Jakyran Handy continued his strong season last week, running for 191 yards on 26 carries (7.3 yards per carry) and four touchdowns.

Springfield has had a tough season. The Bulldogs are 0-6 overall and 0-3 in district play, after falling to undefeated St. Helena College & Career Academy, 47-6.

The touchdown was a defensive score and it’s the only points allowed this season by St. Helena.

“It’s been a very trying year,” Springfield coach Ryan Serpas said. “The kids have had to overcome a lot of obstacles. It’s been a hard situation to deal with, not knowing practice times, having to make adjustments on the fly and home games being cancelled.

“It’s been a very difficult season up to this point. Since we have been at home the last couple of weeks, I have seen improved play. I hope that’s a sign the kids have been able to put the past events behind them.”

The school was hit hard by the flood in August. Serpas said that when they went back, school was at the junior high and they were operating on a split schedule. Last week was the first week back in the high school, which is not fully functioning.

Serpas also said that one of the school’s cheerleaders was killed in a car accident on her way to one of the games.

The Bulldogs are mostly a running team. Bryce Johnson gets the start for Springfield. He is making his fourth start and is the third quarterback for the Bulldogs. The other two have been injured. The running backs are Damariae Claiborne and William Barnett, with C.J. Durbin and Trent Martin seeing action as wide receivers.

The top defenders include linebackers John’l Fryson and Sawyer Blankenship and end Bishop Gehagen.