The Richmond Spartans look to play the spoiler role Friday night and put a damper on the Homecoming activities at Higginsville in an MRVC East matchup at Sam Duncan Stadium.
The Spartans will try to pick themselves off the mat of an 0-4 start at a place where Richmond always seems to struggle. The Spartans have come out on the short end of the scoreboard in their last three visits to Higginsville. Meanwhile, the Huskers are 3-1 under long-time defensive coordinator and now second-year head coach Steve Cook. The Huskers have wins over Braymer, 22-13; El Dorado Springs, 29-14; and last week’s 29-14 decision at Trenton. The lone setback was a 22-6 loss at Butler in the second week of the season.
“The kids are playing hard,” Richmond Coach Rob Bowers said of the Huskers. “They were able to go out and get three wins and with this being their homecoming, I’m sure they’ll be cranked up. We just need to go out there and play with intensity and play clean as far as turnovers and penalties go and see what happens.”
Richmond will be out to find the win column for the first time this season. The offense has struggled, mostly due to self-inflicted problems such as turnovers and untimely penalties. The defense has played well for the most part, but has come up with only two takeaways through the first four games forcing the offense to make long scoring drives.
“We haven’t won the battle for field position, so we’re having to drive a long ways,” Bowers said. “We look good for three or four first downs, and then something happens where we self destruct with a missed assignment, a penalty, or a turnover. We have got to win the battle for field position so we don’t have to drive 90 yards for a score. When we do get on a drive, we have to take care of the football.”
Bowers said the Husker defense plays a 3-3 stack with a 5-3 look and 8 men in the box. The secondary will play a zone while forcing throws to go short. The Huskers will be aggressive with stunts and force the offense to make mistakes.
The Higginsville offense operates out of the “pistol” formation that puts the quarterback in the shotgun. Higginsville will usually run out of that formation 70 percent of the time with Lance Kays running the offense. The junior quarterback completed 10 of his 14 passes last week for 225 yards and 3 touchdown passes.
His main targets are senior tight end Kevin Loges, speedy junior wide receiver Cameron Zuehlsdorg and freshman DeShaun Thirkfield, who is an outstanding athlete. All three hauled in scoring receptions last week. Senior Daniel Johnson led the Husker rushing attack last week with 189 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown.
The Richmond defense held a potent Carrollton defense to a season-low 251 yards of offense last week.
“The way our defense picked it up last week, I feel we have a pretty good chance to play well again this week,” Bowers said. “I’m looking for them to keep improving as more of our younger kids continue to get experience and make less errors.”