Raiders open District 9-2A play

Published 3:32 pm Friday, September 22, 2017

Pine’s Raiders begin District 9-2A play tonight, as they host St. Helena College & Career Academy with kickoff at 7 p.m.
“It’s a big game,” Pine coach Bradley Seal said. “First district game, it’s important to get off to a win.”
Pine begins week four with a 2-1 record and the team did a good job of coming back strong from a loss to Varnado to defeat Pearl River, 42-29, last Friday.
“It was big,” Seal said. “We needed to get back to a winning note. I was proud of the way our guys came out and played.”
Delvric Dillon had a big game last week, finishing with 145 yards on nine carries.
“(Dillon is a) really good change of pace from our big back (Jakyran) Handy with his speed,” Seal said. “He’s a real good complement to Handy.”
Defensively, the Raiders forced five turnovers last week. Rayshun Bell intercepted two passes. Drake Westmoreland intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble and Brendon Kelley recovered a fumble for the Raiders.
“Our defense was able to force five turnovers. We came out and played really well the first half. We got sloppy late, but overall, I thought our defense played fine,” Seal said.
St. Helena won last year’s matchup, 19-0.
St. Helena was a Class 2A state semifinalist last season before falling to eventual state runner-up Madison Prep, 31-6.
“Last week, we didn’t play well. We had some starters that didn’t play at all,” St. Helena coach Brandon Brown said, of his team’s loss to Varnado. “We’re looking forward to going to Pine, knowing it’s going to be a dogfight. One of the goals we talked about all offseason is defending our district championship and you can’t do that without winning the first one.”
Ricky Travis, who is a four-year starter, is the quarterback. Brown said the coaches are comfortable with him at signal caller, but other players may see time at that position, including Troy Hurst.
The team goes with a running back by committee that includes Troy Hurst, Aaron Hurst, Jeremy Griffin and Corey LeBlanc.
Brown said LeBlanc, who is a freshman, has been impressive, but has been a little “banged up.” Brown said LeBlanc should be ready to go this week.
The wide receivers are Michael Martin, Fred Muse, Devin Taylor and Matthew Claiborne.
The top defenders are linebackers Aaron Hurst and Devin Taylor and safety Demetrius Brown. Coach Brown said his safety is the leader on defense. He said Demetrius Brown is a vocal leader and does a good job of getting his teammates lined up correctly.