There was a protest outside Orange High’s school gates because of the Orange County School Board mandate that limited fans at athletic events.
There was an Orange High band that performed in front of a fraction of a crowd that would ordinary gather at Auman Stadium for the first Friday in autumn.
There was a Williams running back who entered the night without a touchdown this season. He wound up scoring four.
But there was no offense from Orange, again, and it has left them on the brink of its fourth straight non-winning season.
Williams running back Alijah Richmond rushed for 109 yards and four touchdowns as Williams defeated Orange 28-0 on Friday night in Hillsborough. Richmond, who had not scored a touchdown in the Bulldogs’ opening five games, eclipsed his previous season-high of 108 yards, which came against Eastern Randolph on September 10.
The Panthers could only muster 89 yards total offense and crossed the 50-yard line just twice against the sizable Bulldogs. It was the fourth time in six games that Orange (1-5, 0-2 in the Central Carolina Conference) has been held under 150 yards total offense.
Under quarterback Jared Weaver, Orange threw the ball more in an effort to mitigate Williams’ size advantage up front. Weaver had a season-high six completions for 44 yards.
“Same old story, different team,” said Orange coach Van Smith. “We knew coming in they were extremely good against the run. They have been all year. So it knew it was going to be a battle. They had a lot of weapons on offense on different areas of the field. I thought we had a pretty good dad gum game plan that put us in the best position to win the game.”
Orange never got into the Williams red zone. The closest they came was on the first drive of the second half, the Panthers only sustained series all night. It opened with Weaver running for nine yards. After Williams’ was called for pass interference on 3rd-and-10, running back Omarion Lewis ran for eleven yards, the last of Orange’s five first downs. After Lewis gained two yards on 3rd-and-3 at the Williams 29-yard line, the Panthers went for it on 4th-and-1, but their run was stuffed by Bulldogs’ defensive linemen Sam Rhodes and Santiago Herrera.
The Panthers’ offense didn’t have a pulse the rest of the game.
Williams (4-2, 2-0), under first-year head coach Patrick Stokes, is two wins away from its first winning season since 2013.
On the Bulldogs’ second drive, quarterback Jaelean Brown had a 45-yard run to the Orange 15-yard line. Richmond battered away at the Panther defense until he scored his first touchdown on a two-yard push with 5:15 remaining the first quarter.
Meanwhile, Orange’s offense didn’t pick up its initial first down until a fake punt early in the second quarter. Punter Darius Satterfield found Elijah Danley, who made a diving catch to move the chains by perhaps two inches, if that. After Weaver hit running back Nathan Sorrells for a 10-yard gain, the drive stalled.
Satterfield punted the ball to the Williams 2-yard line. Williams quickly removed itself from that field position when Brown hit wide receiver Isaiah Ramsey on a simple swing pass. Ramsey rocketed up the field and Orange’s Steven Bellamy was the only person who stopped him from scoring. Three plays later, Richmond scored on a 3-yard run to end a 98-yard drive that only took four plays.
Bellamy also recovered a fumble in the second quarter to start another drive that went nowhere.
Richmond scored on a two-yard run in the third quarter and on a 29-yard screen pass from Brown in the fourth.
Orange enters its off-week. They will host Person for Homecoming, in whatever form that will be, on October 8.
“These kids better love football,” Smith said. “We’ve always said that football isn’t real fun. Winning is fun. This is the time right now where you dang well better love it. That’s been a problem for us all year. Kids missing practice. As a result, they miss time during the game. It’s just a recurring problem. They better figure out real quick how to get to practice every day. We can’t get better if we’re not here.”
It was the first of two games between Orange and Williams this year. Last night’s game counted in the Central Carolina Conference standings. Their meeting on October 22 in Burlington, which replaced the Panthers’ date against Cedar Ridge, will be a non conference game.
WILLIAMS 28, ORANGE 0
WIL-7 7 7 7-28
ORA-0 0 0 0-0
WIL-Alijah Richmond 2 run (Brick Bowen kikc0
WIL-Richmond 8 run (Bowen kick)
WIL-Richmond 2 run (Bowen kick)
WIL-Richmond 29 pass from Jaelean Brown (Bowen kick)
RUSHING-WILLIAMS 32-189 3 TD (Richmond 16-109 3 TD, Brown 8-55, Kylei Richmond 3-26, Dan Mahan 1-6, Nasir Price 1-2, Carmelo Neal 1-1, team 1-(-3), Dejuan Shaffer 1-(-7))
ORANGE- (Omarion Lewis 12-32, Nathan Sorrells 3-6, Jackson Wood 3-0, Jared Weaver 7-(-1), Ronald Cooper 2-(-4).
PASSING: WILLIAMS (Brown 6-10 132 TD)
ORANGE: 7-17 66 INT (Weaver 6-16 44 INT, Darius Satterfield 1-1 12)
RECEIVING: WILLIAMS (Richmond 2-34 TD, Izayah Ramsey 1-73, Will Rhodes 1-21, Price 1-5, Jake Marquis 1-(-1)
ORANGE (Sorrells 4-28, Elijah Danley 2-25, Wynston Brown 1-3)