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By Russ Green-Sports Editor
Richmond Coach Rob Bowers urged his Spartans to make something good happen early as they faced the Panthers at Knob Noster Friday night. The Spartans did just that in both halves as they rolled to a 41-12 MRVC East road victory. Richmond, now 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the league, moved into a tie with the Panthers for third in the conference, and more importantly moved into third in the District 8 standings with one more week remaining in the regular season.
Richmond bolted out to the early lead on its second possession of the game as Quinton Maxwell broke free for a 50-yard touchdown run. However, it would be Maxwell’s arm that would do the most damage to the Panthers. The sophomore quarterback put the Spartans on top 14-0 following a Dylan Seely interception. Maxwell connected with Lendarrius Pritchett for a six-yard touchdown pass with 5:02 remaining in the first half for the first of three scoring hookups. Maxwell completed eight of 11 passes for 211 yards, with Pritchett on the receiving end of four of those for 142 yards.
“Lendarrius is a good player and Quinton has come a long way since the beginning of the year,” Bowers said. “You throw the ball out to Lendarrius and good things are going to happen. Quinton made some good throws to him and Dee is just hard to handle in the open field.”
A 64-yard strike to Pritchett boosted the Spartan lead to 20-0 just three minutes later. Shane Battagler missed his only conversion kick on six attempts in his first night of handling extra-point duties. The Panthers recovered to drive the ball 65 yards using eight plays. Logan Lawber capped the drive with an eight-yard run with 16.4 seconds remaining in the half, but the kick failed.
Any momentum that Knob Noster built with that drive was quickly taken away as the second half unfolded. The Spartan defense forced the Panthers into a three-and-out on their first series of the third quarter, and the Richmond offense then marched 65 yards. Brock Stokes got the six-play drive started with a 33-yard burst. Jimmy Hamm, who picked up 102 rushing yards on 19 attempts for the evening, carried the last three plays, including the five-yard scoring run with 7:53 remaining in the third quarter. Bowers said the focus at halftime was on not letting the Panthers get back into the game.
“We had let them score just before the half, and we needed to come back out and get control of the game,” he said. “We told them we need to make a stop and come back and make a score and that’s what they did.”