“They have amazing athletes and a really good tradition of football, but so does East Paulding. We’ll have to limit turnovers and penalties,” Goddard said last week.
A tight game it was — for one half. Unfortunately for the Raiders, they lost at home, 35-6, to the Jaguars on Friday, Nov. 23.
With a scoreless first quarter, East Paulding was down at the half, 7-6, and unable to score again for the rest of the game.
The Raiders were held to only 46 passing yards as quarterback Mitchell Webb was only able to complete seven of 23 pass attempts. Only 137 rushing yards were collected for the team on the night as well. Rushing yards were split between Neal, Thomas and Webb, with Webb having the most, 52.
The six points on the board for the Raiders came from two field goals by kicker Miles Hemphill.
Hemphill made two of his three attempted field goals for the night, including a 61-yarder. The 61-yard field goal set an East Paulding High and Paulding County School System record for longest field goal made. It also ranks third all time for Georgia high school football.
The Raiders moved to the second round after defeating Clarke Central, 31-23, on Nov. 16.
“We played well and played hard. I felt we were in control most of the game. There were some crazy calls which caused them to get a touchdown with 43 seconds left,” Goddard said.
While the Raiders got the win, Goddard admitted that he felts the win over Allatoona Nov. 9 took something out of his players.
East Paulding still had a few players pull through Nov. 16 and make some big plays to give them the win. Goddard mentioned three seniors, Marcus Gilbert, Kyler Neal and Kamani Thomas.
On the night, Thomas rushed for 97 yards. Neal had a great night with 154 yards, two rushing touchdowns and a 36-yard reception for a touchdown.
Gilbert, according to Goddard, had an “unbelievable kickoff return for a touchdown” totaling 75 yards, and many other big plays throughout the night.
“He had a heck of a game,” said Goddard.
The Raiders practiced Monday through Thursday to prepare for Stephenson as Goddard knew this would be a tough bout for his team.