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High School Football: Richards tops Reavis, wins SSC Red title

By Steve Millar
Correspondent

A shortened spring season with no playoffs, a 3-3 record and losses to District 218 rivals Shepard and Eisenhower brought some new perspective to a Richards program that is used to dominating the South Suburban Red.

The Bulldogs have a new appreciation for accomplishments like the outright SSC Red championship they clinched with last Friday’s 41-21 win over Reavis.

“It’s always good to win one,” Richards coach Tony Sheehan said. “After the last year and a half, we normally wouldn’t take a picture, but I told my wife we’re going to enjoy this stuff now. So, we took a picture and we’re going to enjoy it. It’s something most people didn’t think we could do at the beginning of the year, so we’re glad we did it.”

It’s the 31st conference championship in program history for Richards (7-2, 6-0), which rebounded from a 14-13 loss to Hillcrest in Week 8.

“This means a lot to us,” senior running back Jadon Wilson said. “The spring was tough. Richards — we don’t typically lose to Eisenhower and Shepard. That was a big wake-up call for us. I’m glad we got the bounce-back and won the championship again. This is big for our morale going into the playoffs, as well.”

Wilson ran for 75 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries for the Bulldogs, while junior Michael Maura added 58 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries.

With Richards utilizing running back Travis Garmon at receiver instead of in the backfield because of injuries at receiver, Maura stepped up.

Wilson appreciates that the Bulldogs always have another player ready to step in.

“Personally, I love it,” he said. “It’s not just having different options to run the ball. We have different players to plug in everywhere. We rotate a lot at receiver; even on the [offensive] line.

“I like our depth. I like that we can lose a guy or sub a guy out and still be 100-percent strong.”

After Richards scored first on a 36-yard touchdown pass from James Burford to Terangie Eskridge, Reavis (3-6, 1-5) tied the game midway through the first quarter on a bizarre play.

Rams quarterback Mario Rodriguez recovered a teammate’s fumble and dashed 53 yards for a touchdown after Richards’ players and coaches appeared to think the play was dead.

The Bulldogs responded with three straight rushing touchdowns. Maura ran for an 8-yard score, Wilson scored on a 6-yard run and Maura capped the surge with a 2-yard touchdown on the final play of the first half to give Richards a 28-7 lead.

“It’s just hard work in practice,” Maura said. “You keep taking reps in practice and that’s what it’s all about. You have to work your way up and compete to get your chances.

“Whenever they need me, I’m going to step up. Whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to do it.”

Maura and Wilson each added a second-half touchdown for the Bulldogs. Dijon Newman was 6-of-10 passing for 86 yards for Richards.

Rodriguez ran for 77 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries for Reavis. He also completed 12 of 16 passes for 90 yards.

Calvin Laqui had seven catches for 47 yards and Noah Caceres ran for a 2-yard TD for the Rams.

“Our motto was effort and energy,” Reavis coach Tim Zasada said. “We wanted to compete hard every play and finish out the season the right way. We’re usually used to making the playoffs. It didn’t go our way this season, but we’re going to be back next year.”

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