Eagle football kicks off 2020 season with shutout

Senior Joey Banister picked up 60 yards in three carries on the night. | Photo: Martha Ladd

WINNSBORO – Even with the coronavirus lingering, high school football is back for the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA). The Eagles of Richard Winn Academy got their 2020 season started off in style with a 47-0 shutout victory over Conway Christian Academy.

RWA kicked off to Conway Christian to open the season. After forcing a three-and-out by the Eagles from Conway, Richard Winn quickly got on the board. B Baker rushed for 12 yards and Zack Taylor made a 16-yard scamper before the Eagles went to the air and struck for a huge gain. The connection between Taylor and Dru Caldwell was the first of likely many to come this season as they gained 43 yards. Taylor punched it to the end zone on the next play to complete the four play, 72-yard drive. The two-point conversion made it 8-0 with 9:41 to play in the first.

Richard Winn recovered the ensuing onside kick off and went 47 yards in just four plays. This time Taylor found Caldwell for the four-yard toss, the score was set up by a 31-yard rush by Baker that took Richard Winn down inside the 10-yard line.

Conway got the ball next but fumbled it away to Richard Winn on the first play from scrimmage. The Eagles scored on the fifth play of the drive. This time, it was Taylor finding Caldwell for an 18-yard strike.

Richard Winn recovered the onside kick for the second time in the opening quarter and scored its fourth touchdown in four series. Joey Banister rushed twice for 51 yards including 18 on the touchdown. With this fourth touchdown of the quarter Richard Winn led 27-0 with 3:01 to play in the opening period.

Caldwell, the Eagles backup QB, led the next drive from under center. Richard Winn converted an eight play, 57-yard drive into seven more points with Caldwell scoring the touchdown on a one-yard touchdown run, bringing the score to 34-0.

Richard Winn forced Conway Christian into a three-and-out on its next series, but, following a botched punt attempt, RWA got the ball at the CCA 13. They scored two plays later as Taylor found Christopher Koelsch for the nine-yard tip-pass score.

After the Eagles went up 41-0 the two teams went to a running clock the remainder of the game. Richard Winn added one more score by Baker on a 14-yard run and preserved the shutout the rest of the way.

Richard Winn outgained Conway Christian by a total of 360-28 in total offense. The Eagles had 213 on the ground and 147 through the air while Conway Christian was held to -17 on the ground and 45 through the air.

The connection of Taylor to Caldwell was the main attraction as Taylor finished the night by going 6-8 for 103 yards and three scores passing. Caldwell had four catches for 85 yards and two scores. Baker and Banister combined to run the ball 10 times for 139 yards, Baker had 7-79 and Banister went 3-60. Each scored one time.

“Everybody got a shot, we have a lot of new players this year that are going to be a part of our future. We really have to get them an opportunity to learn and grow,” said head coach Paul Brigman when asked about how the big win helps the program. “It worked out perfectly. Our number one group was really good and when we put our second stringers in they really performed well tonight, so we were really encouraged by the whole thing.”

The Eagles face back-to-back road games. This Friday they travel to Faith Christian Academy and W.W. King Academy next week before returning home to host Charleston Collegiate on Sept. 18.