Tigers dominate Warriors under Friday night lights

Stephanie King

In the conference opener for both teams, the Randleman Tigers hosted the Wheatmore Warriors at Charles R. Gregory Stadium on Friday. The Tigers entered the game 4-0 on the season, while the Warriors were 2-3.

Wheatmore received the ball to start the game as Gabe Hernandez returned the kickoff to the Warriors’ own 40-yard line. A three-yard gain from Garrett Moser got the Wheatmore drive started before a penalty pushed the Warriors back fifteen yards. Wheatmore could not recover the lost yardage and was forced to punt on fourth and 25. Dominick Poole returned the punt to the Tigers’ own 41-yard to kickstart the Tigers’ first offensive possession of the night. Randleman did not need long on offense as Na’hiem Lilly broke loose for a 59-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers on the board. The extra point attempt from Chris Gentry was good giving the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 10:16 left in the first quarter.  Wheatmore took over on their own 34-yard line after the kickoff. Nick Halo connected with Zach Berrier for a 26-yard first down before Moser pick a first down of his own with a 24-yard run. The Warriors got down to the two-yard line but ended up turning the ball over on fourth and one.

Randleman went to work on their own two-yard line and quickly picked up a first down on a ten-yard run from Jaquan Snipes. Lilly picked up eight more yards on a carry before Camden Wishon picked off a Coby Price pass and returned it 20 yards into the end zone. Bailey Owens’ extra point attempt was good as the Warriors tied the game at 7-7. On their next offensive possession, the Tigers struggled to get the ball up the field as they were charged with back to back penalties. One of those penalties was a blocking call on what would have been a 64-yard touchdown run by Lilly. Midway through the drive, Randleman’s Steven Trim took a bad hit and an awkward fall resulting in a fifteen-minute delay as trainers rushed onto the field. Trim eventually walked off the field on his own accord, but would not return to the game.

Once play resumed the Tigers ended up having to punt the ball on fourth down and 20.  The Warriors would not be on offense long as Harrison Moffitt picked off a pass from Halo and returned it inside the ten-yard line. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the ball was brought back after a penalty. The Tigers responded by moving the ball up the field on strong runs from Snipes and Lilly including a 30-yard run by Lilly. With just over one minute left in the quarter, Lilly rushed one yard into the end zone to give the lead back to the Tigers. After tacking of the extra point, Randleman led 14-7. Wheatmore would have the ball on their own 49-yard line as the first quarter came to a close with Randleman leading 14-7.

Randleman’s defense took over at the start of the second quarter forcing the Warriors to punt on fourth down for the second time. Dawson Edwards came flying in and blocked the punt giving the Tigers great field position on the Warriors 39-yard line. Price found Robby Rich for a first down before connecting with Lilly for a 13-yard pickup and another first down. A five-yard run from Snipes and a ten-yard run from Lilly put the Tigers on the ten-yard line. Snipes handled things the rest of the way as he found himself in the end zone for another Tiger touchdown with 7:22 remaining in the quarter. The extra point attempt was good giving the Tigers a 21-7 lead. Wheatmore went back on offense and struggled to get the ball up the field. After quarterback Ben Walker was sacked for a loss, the Warriors ended up turning the ball over on fourth and 20. The Tigers took over on the Wheatmore 26-yard line and needed just one play to find the end zone for the fourth time. Price connected with Poole, who made a great catch over a defender, for a 26-yard touchdown. Gentry tacked on the extra point giving Randleman a 28-7 lead.

The Warriors continued to struggle against the Randleman defense and was forced to punt the ball away once again. Poole returned the punt to the Tigers own 40-yard line before Berrier intercepted a pass from Price. The Tigers returned the favor moments later as Edwards came down with an interception on the one-yard line. Randleman moved the ball to the 25-yard line before things got a little out of hand. There was a scuffle between Lilly of Randleman and a couple of Wheatmore players that stopped play for a few minutes. After a meeting by the referees, Lilly was ejected from the game along with three players from Wheatmore who came off the bench and onto the field during the scuffle. Play resumed with 2:27 left in the quarter as Randleman continued their march down the field. The Tigers got within scoring range and had multiple chances to score, but eventually, the clock ran out before they could. At the half, Randleman was in control 28-7.

Randleman received the ball to start the second half of play and returned the ball to their own 39-yard line. Price found Snipes for what would have been a 61-yard touchdown, but a penalty against the Tigers brought the ball back. The Tigers could not find the end zone after that and were forced to punt the ball on fourth down. Wheatmore’s offensive struggles continued as the Randleman defense was locked in. The Warriors eventually turned the ball over on downs. Randleman regained possession and made this drive count as Snipes scored his second rushing touchdown of the night this time on a 36-yard run with 8:21 left in the third quarter. As the teams were heading out for the extra point, rain began to fall forcing a weather delay. Eventually, the game was called with the Tigers picking up a 34-7 win over the Warriors.

Lilly rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns, while Snipes finished with 93 rushing yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers. Berrier finished with 26 receiving yards for the Warriors.

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