HAHIRA— The Valwood Valiants fell to the Southland Academy Raiders 23-6 Friday night at Goddard Field.
The clash between Valiants and Raiders was a defensive battle, but the Raiders second-half surge put the game out of reach for the Valiants.
The Valiants' offense kicked the game off with a great offensive attack hitting the Raiders defense on the ground and through the air. Quarterback Dru Womack went a perfect 4 for 4 on the drive leading his team down the field.
Breaking free on third down, Womack set the Valiants up with great field position. One play later, Womack handed it off to running back Noah Pettigrew for a 9-yard touchdown with 6:31 left in the first quarter.
The Raiders’ offense didn't waste time getting those points back, however, as Hudson Collins broke through the left side of the line to pick up a huge 46-yard gain to put the Raiders in striking distance.
The Valiants' defense stood tall as freshman Mills Moorman bust through the Raiders' offensive line to get a huge sack on third down – forcing the offense into a long field goal from distance.
Raiders and Valiants would trade the ball for the reminder of the first quarter. Coming into the second the Raiders offense got into a groove.
With great position inside the red zone, the Raiders gave the ball to their defensive tackle John Saye as he rumbled into the end zone for 13-yard touchdown to make the score 7-6 with 9:48 left in the second quarter
Coming out the break, the Raiders stayed on the attack against the Valiants' defense – needing only two plays as David Dickens scattered out the backfield for a 60-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 14-6 with 10:59 left in the third quarter.
The Valiants' offense tried to be aggressive as well, but the plan didn’t go as well as Womack was picked off on a pass to his No. 1 target Tajh Sanders.
The Valiants' defense, led by Demetris Rosier, held strong for the offense as the defensive line had a meeting with the quarterback on third down – getting the ball back to its offense.
Heading into the fourth, the Valiants found themselves down a score.
The offense dug into its playbook, breaking out a wide receiver pass but Sanders was picked off by the Raiders defense.
On the next Raiders possession, they put the nail in the coffin as Collins found a hole and rolled 14 yards for the game-sealing touchdown.
The Valiants hit the road this week to face region rival Brookwood in Thomasville. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.