Appomattox Raider JaQuan Walker

Appomattox Raider JaQuan Walker (No. 6) runs with the ball as Altavista's Tanner Cox goes for a tackle.

The Appomattox Raiders varsity football team returned to the gridiron Thursday night and dominated the Altavista Colonels in its season opener 42-6 without coach Doug Smith at the helm due to his battle with cancer.

Stephen Castello coached the team in his absence, and the Altavista rivals showed their support for Smith with a banner that read “Altavista Stands With You! #SmithStrong.

Raiders quarterback Tre Lawing III led a quick scoring drive hitting receiver Tez Booker in stride for a TD pass and a 7-0 lead.

Altavista’s signal caller Jayllen Jones threw an interception on their next possession, and the Raiders quickly capitalized with a short TD run to extend the lead 14-0 after one quarter of play.

The Colonels defense looked to swing the momentum as safety Sadeek Prather intercepted Lawing’s pass in the end zone to end the Raiders scoring threat.

After stopping the Colonels offense once again, the Raiders answered swiftly as Lawing connected with Jordan Scott on a 43 yard TD pass to push it to 21-0. Just before the half, Appomattox forced a fumble and Landon Wilson returned it to the house for a commanding 28-0 halftime lead.

After a scoreless third quarter, Altavista finally got on the board as quarterback Jayllen Jones scrambled 31 yards for a TD to make it a 28-6 game.

Once again, as soon as the Colonels looked to grab some momentum, the Raiders return man Tez Booker took the ensuing kickoff and darted 85 yards for the score. The Raiders (1-0) would score once more on defense late in the game to close out their 42-6 victory.

There will be more to this article in next week's issue of the Times Virginian newspaper. Support local journalism by purchasing the issue at a local newsstand or subscribing at to receive the print edition or view the full article in the e-edition version.