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By Russ Green-Sports Editor
Despite a 42-28 loss last week to Holden, Richmond Coach Rob Bowers feels his team was just a few missed plays away from a different outcome. However, the Spartans hope to take some lessons learned on the road this week as they face the Knob Noster Panthers. Richmond takes a 3-4 record into Friday night’s meeting with the 4-3 Panthers under new head coach John Cox.
Cox is the fourth head coach in as many years at Knob Noster after taking Concordia to the Class 1 semifinals twice in five playoff appearances.
Bowers said a key to Friday night’s game is getting off to the start similar to last week when the Spartans scored on their first two possessions.
“The kids came out and played very well offensively and got a stop or two on defense and we got up 14-0,” he said. “That’s starting about as well as you can.”
The Spartans had one of their best offensive games of the year last week as they piled up 220 rushing yards to go along with 155 yards through the air. The Spartans have averaged 235 yards on the ground and 157 passing yards the last two weeks and Bowers adds the each phase of the offense helps the other.
“We’re getting better but we have to keep working,” he said. “We’re not going to be 50-50, but I want to be able to throw the ball well enough that teams have to honor that and spread out their defensive formations so that will open up the running game. If we can run the ball, that will open up the passing game.”
The Spartan offense will go up against a Panther defense that is aggressive and flies to the football, according to Bowers. However, they have given up the big play the last two weeks. The Panthers surrendered 244 yards passing in a 27-14 win over Lexington two weeks ago, and was burned by big plays in last Friday’s 41-14 loss to Higginsville.