CLAY, W.Va. -- After a lackluster final scrimmage last week against Sissonville, Roane County coach Paul Burdette issued his team and specifically his offensive line a challenge.
Everyone rose to the occasion Friday as the Raiders secured a 28-13 come-from-behind victory over Clay County. A crowd of about 1,200 attended the Class AA matchup of playoff teams from a year ago at Clay High School on opening night.
"I challenged our guys this week to come back and prove what we were made of,'' said Burdette, a third-year coach who guided the Raiders to a 6-5 mark last year and a playoff berth for the sixth time in eight seasons.
"To play hard ball. When you can go out and play as one unit and nobody cares who gets the glory and nobody cares who scores as long as the Raiders scores. That's a big deal.''
After the Panthers took the first possession of the third quarter and scored on Lucas Jordan's 14-yard run to go ahead 13-12, the Raiders stymied Clay the rest of the way, then created opportunities of their own and cashed in.
The Panthers handed Roane a golden chance when they went for it on fourth-and-4 from their own 45 and were stopped. The Raiders then answered with Luke Scott's 19-yard score off left tackle and his 2-point conversion to take the lead for good at 20-13.
Roane forced Clay fumbles and recovered the ball each time on the Panthers' next two possessions. The Raiders put the game away after the Panthers muffed their second punt return. Roane quarterback Cody May hit Tyler King from 4 yards out then found King again on the 2-point conversion to set the final score.