Raiders score early, often in 69-0 win

Raiders score early, often in 69-0 win 150 150 SWVA High School Sports

   Willis Field, Roanoke, VA– High School football finally kicked off for the North Cross Raiders Friday afternoon. And kick off they did, again and again, as the host Raiders scored early and often in a 69-0 blanking of the Virginia Spartans. 

The Raiders were “Air Raiders” this day as Senior QB 9 Gabe Zappia tossed 4 touchdowns on a 7/8,151,4TD afternoon. Each scoring toss went to a different receiver. Add to that RB 12 Carlton Ward (4/57, 2TDs; 1/35, TD rec) scoring 3 of the 5 times he had his mitts on the pigskin. On the other side of the ledger, the Spartans struggled with the aggressive home team. The North Cross defense scored a safety and two touchdowns on two fumbles.

Raider WR 1 Ian Cann scores

North Cross QB 9 Gabe Zappia lets it fly

1st QTR – North Cross started fast on defense, holding the Spartans and then producing a safety by LB 21 Michael Mack after a fumble by QB 1 Justice Taconet.

So a minute and half into the game, NC led 2-0. And the Raiders were still going to get the ball on offense. Once QB 9 Zappia and party had it, they wasted little time. It took only two snaps for the Senior to find Ward over the middle on a 35-yard toss and run. K 55 Vedan Muse (7/10 PATs) punched through the point after and it was 9-0. Back to back fumbles on the Spartans next two possessions led to two more TDs for the Raiders. Ward made the visitors pay after one of the miscues from 4 yards out after a 31-yard drive. The Spartan fumble occurred on the kickoff. Junior DB/WR 7 Cross Thompson added seven more on top of that to the scoreboard for the Raiders with an 18-yard “scoop and score” on the second fumble.

The turnover bug kept biting the Spartans. On their next possession, Raider Sophomore WR/DB 1 Ian Cann (2/57, TD rec) intercepted Spartan QB 1 Taconet at the Spartans thirty-five. Two plays later, Zappia found WR/DB 11 Mehki Hines (1/20, TD) on a crossing pattern. Hines turned on the jets taking it in from 20-yards out. North Cross’ lead had ballooned to 37-0 with 4:49 left in the quarter. NC added one more Ward rushing TD, 20-yards out, to finishing out the scoring for the quarter.

DE/TE 87 Marc Notzel makes the play

2nd QTR – North Cross added one final touchdown before half as the game settled down. Following a catch and run by UVA commit, Senior WR/LB 3 James Jackson (1/18 rec) down to the  nine yardline, Zappia followed that up with a strike to TE 87 Marc Notzel (2/24,TD).  The Junior made a great over the shoulder catch in the end zone along the sidelines. Even though the extra point was missed, North Cross took a insurmountable 50-0 lead into the break. 

3rd QTR – With a running clock in the second half  the game moved along at a much faster clip. Several reserves got playing time. The Raiders kept the scoring march going with Sophomore RB/LB 4 Kamden Johnson (4/52, TD) on a 15-yard run over right tackle. That stretched NC’s lead to 56-0. The PAT was no good. The Spartans tried to create some offense on the ground and in the air, but DB 12 Ward got the ball back for the Raiders on a ‘pick’ and run back to the Spartans eight-yardline. From there, Sophomore QB 8 Conner Lange (1/8, TD) took it in.

North Cross’ swarming defense

4th QTR – North Cross ended the days scoring, on a one yard run by Sophomore RB 10 Zach Morgan (7/47, TD). Coincidentally, this was also the longest drive of the game. The Raiders took seven plays all on the ground, and benefited from a Spartan face mask penalty. The score and consequential extra point made the final 69-0 North Cross.

On this day, the Raiders looked like last years state championship team although some key players have had to step up to replace now Division 1 College players like Zae Baine (Temple), Aden Britton (Coastal Carolina), Jaedyn Young (Guilford), Soloman Crockett-Eans (Catawba) and Isaac Harris (Hampton – Lacrosse). So far, so good.

Both teams will have the next week off. North Cross will be back in action Saturday, October 2 at North Cross entertaining a good Fork Union team. The Spartans will also be at home in Roanoke at Rivers Edge on Saturday, October 2nd facing ACTS.



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