The Raleigh Lions dropped their first district game of the season on the road to the Magee Trojans. Anxious to win their homecoming and get into the win column in district play, the Trojans leaned on a physical rushing attack en route to a 42-18 victory.
Margo Perkins had a productive evening for the Lions, starting from the opening kickoff, which the sophomore returned 88 yards for a touchdown and an early 6-0 lead. The Trojans offense quickly turned the tide with a long drive ending on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Josh Sanders to Javo Thurmond. Following the score, the Lions committed two key turnovers — a fumble on a kick return and an interception — that proved to be crucial factors in the outcome. The Trojans turned both turnovers into scoring drives, with both scores coming on carries from sophomore running back Ross McInnis. Down by three touchdowns and in urgent need of momentum, junior quarterback Zedric “Whoopie” Keyes connected with Perkins for a touchdown pass on fourth and goals near the end of the second quarter to bring the score to 26-12 entering halftime.
Looking to keep their late second quarter momentum rolling, the Lions attempted an onside kick to begin the third quarter and fail just short of recovering the ball. Once again the Trojans methodically moved the ball down field with their running game, and Sanders scored on a 10-yard quarterback scramble to extend the lead. After a three and out by the Lions offense, Magee put together another long drive but this time was forced to settle for a 38-yard field goal attempt, which went straight through for three points. Nearing the end of the third quarter, Keyes and Perkins connected again, this time for a 65-yard touchdown pass to keep hope alive with a 35-18 deficit heading into the final quarter.
Just as they had throughout the evening, the Trojans responded with a long, drawn out drive ending in points. The final score of the night came on a 15-yard reverse pass attempt from Sanders to Thurmond, and the final minutes of play were drained with rushing attempts to bring the contest to an end.
McInnis was the biggest difference maker for the Trojans on the evening, rushing for 192 of the team’s 410 total yards of offense and two touchdowns. Sanders completed 16 of 23 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns as well. Perkins was the biggest producer for the Lions, with 75 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions to go along with his 88-yard touchdown return of the opening kick.
Now 1-1 in district play, Coach Collums and the Lions have the opportunity to host back to back district games against McLaurin and St. Andrews Episcopal before traveling to Velma Jackson for the last game of the regular season. These final three weeks will determine who plays on in November during the postseason, and Raleigh will have an opportunity to punch their ticket if they hold serve at home against the Tigers and Saints.