by TROY DERENGOWSKI
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE RED DEVILS
Well, the 2018 RHS football season is underway and it couldn’t have turned out better. Richmond simply dominated the Spartans last Friday night winning 34-16, in a game “not” as close as the score may indicate. It was a test the Red Devils passed with flying colors.
Richmond won every phase of the game, offense, defense and special teams, snapping a 12 game losing streak and erasing the nasty taste of losing to the Spartans in the season opener last year.
Richmond also passed another test…effort and attitude. The Red Devils showed us they put in the work this off-season and were humble in the win. Yes, they celebrated, but they also knew it’s just one game and they were already focused on game two.
On offense, Richmond rushed for 308 yards, led by Wyatt Byrd’s 189 and four TD’s. Byrd averaged 12.6 yards per carry. Byrd has great vision and the ability to make split decisions. He found the running lane almost like he knew there would be an opening before the hole actually became a reality. That may have been the easiest 189 yards Wyatt has ever rushed for. As a team, the Red Devils averaged 10.6 yards per carry. Give a lot credit to the offensive line for opening up some huge holes! Some of the openings were so big at times they were visible from the press box. The Red Devils finished with 342 yards of total offense. To put things in perspective, Richmond averaged only 169.3 yards per game in total offense last season and 87.6 rushing yards per game. The 34 points RHS scored were the most scored since the 2016 season when the Red Devils had 32 against Lafayette Jeff. Richmond’s high last season was 16 against the Spartans.
QB Alec Snedigar managed the game just the way he was supposed to. Alec threw the ball only seven times because the running game was so effective. Why change the game plan if it’s working? Alec did manage 85 yards of total offense, a TD pass and no turnovers.
On defense, Richmond simply shut down QB Adam Kelly and the Spartans running attack. Most everything the Spartans gained came late when Richmond starting playing the second and third units. The Red Devils dominated the line of scrimmage, allowed the linebackers to do their job in stopping the run and containing Kelly. The secondary hit hard and made tackles in the open field. The defensive player of the game was Treshawn Jones and his honor was well deserved. Jones made several open field tackles and had Connersville receivers turning their heads before catching the football. The 16 points allowed is the fewest since the opener last season when Connersville scored 22.
On special teams the Red Devils dominated early and quickly. Stefan Huber blocked a punt that led to the games first touchdown and really set the tone for Richmond. Huber also made several solo tackles on kick-off coverage and he was the kicker!!!
The biggest concern for the Red Devils after Friday night is the lack of depth. My concern after watching Friday was the amount of players going “both” ways. Coach Lewis and his staff will have to devise a plan to keep the starters fresh and free of injuries and still find a way to keep them in the line-up until other are ready for varsity football.
So, the first of two non-conference games is behind them. Now they will focus on Lawrence North this Friday night. The Wildcats will be another huge test and a bigger challenge. Lawrence North is a 6A program that plays in the MIC with the “big boys”, (Ben Davis, Carmel, Warren Central etc.) They beat Perry Meridian in the season opener 64-7. The Wildcats have speed, size and quickness.
Lawrence North hasn’t had a winning season since 2005 when they went 9-3 and they are coming off a 2-8 season. The Wildcats lost several key players from last season, but they return QB’s Derin McCulley and Donovan McCulley (offer from IU) and LB Deon Pettiford (Indiana State).
All of us will be interested to see how the Red Devils respond this week after a huge win in game one. Win or lose, Richmond will be ready for the NCC schedule in week three.