MIDDLE SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Raiders capture back to back county championships with 28-8 win over West Point

The Good Hope Raiders defeated West Point 28-8 Tuesday night to win back to back county championships. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

GOOD HOPE, Ala. – After defeating Fairview and Vinemont in last week’s semifinals respectively, the Good Hope Raiders and West Point Warriors clashed in the county title game for the second straight season at James W. Shabel Stadium Tuesday night. The Raiders held a slim, 6-0 lead at halftime but fell behind West Point early in the third quarter. However, Good Hope outscored the Warriors 22-0 the rest of the way and the Raiders captured their second consecutive county championship with a 28-8 win.

Good Hope struck first on its opening possession when quarterback Web Buchanan connected with Tucker Screws over the middle and Screws took it into the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown, giving the Raiders a 6-0 lead with just over four minutes remaining in the first quarter. On the first play of the ensuing West Point possession, a Warriors fumble was recovered by Screws, giving the ball back to Good Hope but the Raiders turned it over on downs just a few plays later.

Another West Point fumble was recovered by Good Hope’s Chase Boles early in the second quarter, but the Raiders were unable to take advantage of the short field and turned the ball over on downs once again. Neither team was able to find the end zone in the final five minutes of the second and Good Hope went into the halftime break with a 6-0 lead.

The Warriors came out firing to start the second half and were able to take the lead after quarterback Carter McAfee hit Breylee Woodard in stride deep down the middle of the field for a 47-yard touchdown. Koltan Franks punched in the two-point conversion and with just one minute gone in the third quarter, West Point led 8-6. Good Hope answered quickly on its next possession, keeping the chains moving on the ground with an up-tempo attack. Once the Raiders moved down inside the Warriors 20-yard line, Buchanan pulled up and hit Cooper Johnson running down the seam for a 16-yard touchdown and put Good Hope back in front 12-8 with 3:39 to play in the third.

West Point’s next possession ended with a turnover on downs and the Raiders took advantage of the short field, extending their lead to 18-8 with a 17-yard touchdown run by Screws. Screws ran in the two-point conversion moments later and gave Good Hope a 20-8 lead with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter. The Warriors were unable to convert on fourth down at the start of the fourth quarter and just a couple of plays later, Screws stretched the lead to 26-8 with his second touchdown run of the night. Eli Drake carried it into the end zone for the two-point conversion to put the Raiders in front 28-8 and all but seal the win for Good Hope. The Raiders finished the game in victory formation and celebrated their second consecutive county title after defeating West Point 28-8.

Buchanan completed seven of his 10 pass attempts for 84 yards and a pair of touchdowns and added 50 more yards on the ground. Screws posted 33 yards and two touchdowns on two carries and caught four passes for 64 yards and another score. Johnson caught three passes for 38 yards and a touchdown. Ryker Hancock finished with 46 yards on nine carries and Johnson added 32 yards on six carries.

McAfee completed three of his five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. Woodard caught a 47-yard touchdown and Westen Tolbert hauled in another catch for 11 yards. Rush Lamar led the way on the ground with 75 yards on 19 carries.

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