Raiders near-perfect this season
Reagan’s junior varsity went through an awful 30-minute stretch in last week’s match-up against North Davidson. The Raiders were flagged for five personal fouls in the first half and two players were ejected from the game. Given all those misdeeds, coach Josh McGee’s team was fortunate to be tied 7-7 at halftime. The Raiders, though, reasserted themselves in the second half and the end result was a 24-14 victory.
Trailing by a field goal late in the third quarter, Reagan took the lead for good on Jake Easter’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Anthony. The Raiders put the game away early in the fourth quarter. Bryson Harrison dashed past North Davidson’s kick coverage on a 50-yard punt return and four plays later, Easter scored on a quarterback keeper from two yards out.
“At halftime, we had a long conversation about self-discipline and self-control,” said McGee. “I’m proud of the way they bounced back and how they got better in the second half. That’s exactly what we needed.”
Reagan (6-1) could easily be undefeated at this point in the season. The only blemish is a 28-27 home loss to East Forsyth in late August. In that contest, Reagan missed a PAT kick that would have tied the game with less than four minutes left to play. The Raiders offense launched another potential game-winning drive with time running out. But the comeback effort fell short when Anthony barely missed a 25-yard field goal that would have won the game.
“There were other things that we should’ve done against East Forsyth but didn’t,” said McGee. “But I’m happy about where we are right now. Our kids play hard and they’ve bought into our system. We’re excited about the future.”
Easter, a strong-armed passer who can also beat opponents with his running ability, is the centerpiece for Reagan. But that doesn’t mean the Raiders are a one-player team. Running back Jahni Glenn has game-breaking skills as an elusive runner and capable receiver. At the wide-out positions, Bryson Harrison, Darriel Brown and Chandler Belk are dependable and productive.
Defensively, the Raiders rank among the top JV units in the county. Alex Purviance is one of the key performers at linebacker. In the North Davidson game, Purviance recovered a fumble and ran it back 69 yards for Reagan’s first score of the game.
Purviance gets plenty of help from Paul Rader and Rick Harrison. Up front, Garland Wallace, Leroy Scales and Tim Jordan are formidable and they continue to improve with every game.
Even though Easter feels good about the Raiders having a superlative season, he’s far from being satisfied. With three weeks left in the season, Reagan has Central Piedmont 4-A Conference games against Reynolds (tonight), Davie County (Oct. 18) and Mount Tabor (Oct. 25). Entering tonight’s junior varsity games, Reagan is locked in a three-way tie with Reynolds and Mount Tabor for first place in the conference standings.
“Sure, we’ve only lost one game, but there’s still so much work for this team to do,” Easter said. “There are still more games for us to play. And we take things game by game. That’s why we have to go back to work and get ourselves ready for the next opponent on our schedule.”