The Boonville Pirates were never really in their Class 3, District 14 matchup with Richmond at Spartan Stadium Friday night. However, when they did get back in the game with a 69-yard fumble recovery return for a touchdown, the Spartans responded with probably their biggest scoring drive of the season. The drive re-established Richmond’s dominance of the visiting Pirates as the Spartans chalked up an 18-7 victory.
The win once again puts Richmond’s post-season hopes firmly back in its own hands at Moberly Friday night. The loss drops Boonville to 6-3 overall and 1-1 in district play after defeating Moberly last week. The Pirates will host the suddenly surging Odessa Bulldogs on Friday. The Dawgs followed their 9-0 victory over the Spartans with a 42-6 thumping of Moberly Friday to improve to 2-0 in districts.
Richmond improved to 5-4 overall and 1-1 in district play by controlling both sides of the line. The offense rebounded from a tough outing one week ago to post 262 total yards, while the defense complet held the potentially explosive Pirate offense to just 70 yards and three first downs.
“We played hard on the O-line and the defense played great,” Richmond Coach Rob Bowers said. “They did a great job. Offensively, we plugged away at them. We had a few missed opportunities and some mistakes. It wasn’t picture perfect, but they did a great job when we had to have it.”
The offense needed a quick response early in the final period when Boonville finally showed a few sparks of life. Although Richmond was dominating throughout the night, the Spartans took just a 12-0 lead into the final 12 minutes. On the first play of the fourth period, Devon Hohensee scooped up a Richmond fumble on the Pirate 21 and raced down the east sideline all the way into the end zone for the only Boonville score of the night. Hohensee then booted the conversion and cut the Spartan lead to 12-7.
Richmond shook off the setback with an impressive 69-yard, time-consuming and game-clinching drive. The Spartans converted three third-down situations to keep the drive going. Colby Bowles, who completed 8 of his 10 passes for the night, completed his only attempt on the drive for 6 yards to Jake Vandiver. Vandiver caught 6 passes for 72 yards on Senior Night.
The rest of the drive was pounded out on the ground with Reny Reis picking up 27 yards on 4 carries, Jamal Robinson gained 10 yards on a pair of carries and Gabe Vandiver picking up 4 on his only carry of the drive. Vandiver, filling in for the injured Arthur Bivines at tailback, made his first start and responded with 75 yards on 19 carries. Bowles finished off the drive with his second touchdown of the night as he fought his way over from 4 yards out to cap the 12-play drive with 4:45 remaining in the game.
“That was a big one,” Bowers said of the Richmond scoring drive. “All year long we talked about making something good happen after something bad has happened and that was a huge drive. Our kids just knuckled down. Boonville could have crawled back in the game at that point, but our kids didn’t let them.”
The Spartan defense set the tone early when Payton Fields jumped on a Pirate fumble on the first Boonville possession of the night on the Pirate 18-yard line. Four plays later Richmond was on the board with Bowles scoring on a 5-yard run off the option with 5:30 left in the first quarter. The Spartans pushed their lead to 12-0 with 6:40 remaining in the half as Bowles hooked up with Jake Vandiver for a 9-yard scoring pass on fourth and 4.
With a two-touchdown advantage, the Spartan defense continued to keep the Boonville offense from making the big play.
“They have some great athletes, they’re big up front and have athletes in the backfield,” Bowers said. “We just didn’t give them any wiggle room at all.”
Boonville advanced past midfield once in the first half (the Richmond 49) and never got past the 50 in the second half.
PHOTO: Spartan defense once again swarms Boonville quarterback Aaron Schanzmeyer (8) as Richmond held the Pirates to only 70 yards of offense for the game. (Photos by Russ Green/The Daily News)