By Micheal Bryant
For The Times
Good Hope traveled to Saks for a tough test against Class 3A’s No. 3 team. Though the Raiders got off to a quick start, the Wildcats’ depth quickly showed in a 51-21 win on Friday night.
Good Hope elected to receive the opening kick to allow an offense that has shone all season to make a statement — and it looked as if the Red and White were going to do just that.
Starting at their own 36, it took just two plays to put a quick seven on the board. After a short gain on first down, Sebastion Fendley looked to pass, but with no receivers open downfield, he took off around right end and scampered 63 yards practically untouched to the end zone.
However, that was the only score the Raiders put on the board in the opening half.
“At the beginning, we got our run going,” Good Hope coach Chris Moss said. “But then they brought seven up in the box and we couldn’t overcome that.”
Saks got the ball next, and it was clear why the Wildcats were ranked so highly. Saks scored on six of its seven first-half possessions.
The string of touchdowns got started on a 9-yard run from Devin Harris. This was followed by a 13-yard run from Davonte Young, a 47-yard scamper from Tre Smith, another run from Young — this time from seven yards out — a second Harris run of 25 yards and a 51-yard run by Calvin Figueroa.
The one possession Saks failed to score on ended with a fumble that Good Hope recovered. However, the Wildcat defense got it back for them four plays later.
“They’ve got a lot of speed and made a lot of plays,” Moss said of his team’s first-round foe. “I guess that’s why they are No. 3 in the state.”
Needing a spark in the second half, Good Hope elected to go for an onside kick. After some hand fighting at the bottom of the pile, the Raiders came up with it at Saks’ 49-yard line.
They were unable to capitalize, though, and Saks took over at its own 40. One play later, Smith found a wide-open Harris strolling into the end zone.
After that, it was clear Saks was trying to run the clock out, but the Raiders proved this season they weren’t a squad that quits.
Riley Eisner entered the game for a banged-up Fendley and went to work. On the heels of a Jared McClure 25-yard run, the freshman quarterback went 4-of-6 passing on his first drive, with the last completion going for 22 yards to McClure for the Red and White’s second score.
Good Hope went for another onside kick and again recovered. The Raiders proceeded to drive 50 yards to cut the deficit to 51-21 after a 2-yard pass from Eisner to Austin Crumbley.
Eisner finished the game 9 of 12 for 93 passing yards and a pair of interceptions to go with his two scores.
Good Hope ended its season, which included its first trip to the playoffs since 2008, with a 7-4 record.
“Our team kept fighting,” Moss said. “We got behind, but we kept on fighting. That’s what our kids have done all year.”