By Russ Green-Sports Editor
After a tough two-game stretch, last week’s 51-0 drubbing of Kansas City Central could not have come at a better time for the Richmond Spartans as they get set to face the Higginsville Huskers in the MRVC East opener at Duncan Field Friday night.
The 4-0 Huskers are ranked No. 1 in this week’s Class 2 Missouri Sportswriters and Broadcasters poll – winning by an average of 31 points each week. The Spartans still received some votes in the Class 3 poll after getting back to the .500 mark following last week’s victory, and coach Rob Bowers said a key was his team’s preparation and attitude following a big loss to Excelsior Springs.
“It’s a testament to the kids to come back and have a great week after losing two in a row,” he said. “That has not been something our kids have had to experience recently. Rather than mope around and pout, they came back and had a great week of practice. I felt like during the week, we made some improvement and got better in a lot of areas.”
Bowers knows his team will have to have another great week as it prepares to face the Huskers – a team that features a lot of key performers from last fall’s Class 2 state runners-up.
Leading the offense, which has scored over 39 points a game, is tailback Cottry Lewis, who is averaging 10.1 yards per carry on 47 attempts with seven touchdowns. Seven of his touchdowns are by an average of 37 yards. Receiving threats are LJ Williams, who has 11 catches for 336 yards with four touchdowns, and Tyrell Thirkield with five grabs for 79 yards and a pair of scores.
Bowers knows the Richmond defense, which gave up some big plays at Excelsior Springs, can’t let that happen Friday night.
“We gave up way too many big plays against Excelsior and big plays defensively kill you, along with turnovers on offense,” he said. “Friday night is a time where we have to come out offensively and not turn it over and defensively, we have to make them drive the ball. They’re a good offensive football team.”