Friday’s second-round 4AA playoff game between Richmond County and host Garner was everything you’d expect – and plenty you wouldn’t – from a matchup of two of North Carolina’s premier football programs.
Garner scored 26 unanswered points to pull away from the Raiders for a wild 54-37 victory that vaulted the Trojans into next week’s quarterfinals. Garner (12-1) will travel to face N&O No. 1-ranked Middle Creek next Friday. Richmond County ended its season 9-4.
The game featured 10 offensive touchdowns, a defensive touchdown, a special teams touchdown, two field goals, a safety and five turnovers. Eight of the touchdowns went for 30 yards or more.
Garner’s defense surrendered more points in the first half (31) than it had given up in the previous eight games combined (20). But after the Raiders opened up a 31-21 second quarter lead, the Trojan defense clamped down with the lone Raider score after halftime being a 98-yard kickoff return by Dante Miller.
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Tied 31-31 late in the third quarter, the Trojans were awarded a safety when a high snap brought Richmond’s punter down out of the back of the end zone. On the first play following the kickoff, Collin Eaddy busted loose for a 44-yard touchdown run to put the Trojans up 40-31. Eaddy later put the game away with a 30-yard touchdown sprint to extend the Garner lead to 47-31 with under six minutes to play.
Eaddy totaled 196 yards rushing, another 38 yards receiving and three touchdowns.
The Trojans jumped out to a 14-0 lead less than six minutes into the game but squandered that lead, falling behind 31-21 after a pair of touchdowns by both Jaylen Baldwin and Damontre Bennett.
Braxton Brokenborough threw for 193 yards and a pair of scores while rushing for another for the Trojans, who scored on a 50-yard fumble return by Dalton Counts on Richmond’s first play from scrimmage.