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Top-ranked Huskers pull away late from Spartans

LEFT: Members of the Spartan defensive unit close in on Higginsville receiver Tyrell Thirkield. (Photo by Russ Green/Richmond News)

By Russ Green-Sports Editor

It was a good start for the Richmond Spartans Friday night at Duncan Field as they faced the No. 1-ranked Class 2 Higginsville Huskers in the MRVC East opener. The Spartans grabbed a 6-0 lead on their second possession of the game, but Higginsville came back to score the final points of the night in a 35-6 victory.

The Huskers got a pair of late scores in the fourth quarter set up by two Richmond turnovers to pull away from what was actually a closely fought contest. The loss dropped the Spartans back below the break-even mark at 2-3, while Higginsville remains unbeaten. Spartan Coach Rob Bowers said his young squad still continues to get better.

“They’re good kids, they work hard and we’ve had two great weeks of practice,” he said. “They played every down. We need to clean up some mistakes and if we do that, it will give us a better chance to be successful.”

The Spartans held the edge on the ground against the Huskers, but Higginsville used its speed to own a big advantage in the air. Richmond rushed to 167 yards on 36 attempts, while Higginsville picked up 138 yards on 40 carries. Husker quarterback Adam Reid completed 11 of his 17 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers. Richmond’s Quinton Maxwell completed five of his 14 attempts for 44 yards with three interceptions. The sophomore signal caller picked up 60 yards on the ground on a dozen attempts, with Brock Stokes gaining 53 yards on 10 carries and Jimmy Hamm adding 53 yards on 13 attempts.

The Spartans jumped on the board in the opening period with Maxwell racing around the left end from 12 yards out to cap a 57-yard, four-play drive. Stokes got the drive started with a 39-yard burst to the Husker 15. The conversion kick sailed wide left, but Richmond had the lead with 4:17 left in the first period.

It didn’t take long for Higginsville to get the homecoming crowd back into the game as the Huskers countered with a 62-yard, 14-play drive with Reid plowing in from a yard out, followed by the first of five Matt Elder kicks to put the Huskers on top to stay with 11:52 remaining in the first half.

The Richmond offense then began to struggle moving the ball as the Spartans managed just one more first down in the opening half.

“We came out offensively and got things going, but they made some adjustments,” Bowers said. “They adjusted they way I thought they would, but we just struggled to do what we had practiced on. We have to get to the point where we can make those adjustments – especially anticipated adjustments. Good teams are going to adjust when you’re hurting them and then you have to be able to make those same adjustments. We didn’t do a very good job of that.”

 The complete story is in the Monday, Sept. 24, 2012 Richmond News.

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