By Russ Green-Sports Editor
Richmond Coach Rob Bowers knows his Spartans face a tough test as they begin Class 3 District 8 play Friday night against St. Pius at Tom Adams Field. Do not be deceived by the Warriors’ 3-6 record when they tee it up against the 5-4 Spartans at 7 p.m. The Warriors shook off a slow start to win their last three games.
Part of the reason for the slow start by St. Pius was the competition. St. Pius faced teams with a combined record of 44-10 through the first six weeks – including losses to undefeated Maryville (43-7) and Oak Grove (48-7) and once beaten Pembroke Hill (34-0).
“The films we have on them show they are taking care of the football,” Bowers said. “They play hard and coach (Rick) Beyers does a great job with them and they will be fundamentally sound. On offense, they know what they’re trying to do and do a good job with it. Do not let their record fool you. They’re a good team and we are going to have our hands full Friday night.”
Part of the Warrior struggles, in addition to the tough schedule, was losing 10 fumbles through the first six weeks. Since then, the Warriors have only fumbled the ball away twice, even though they are running more. St. Pius opened the season by putting the ball in the air. Senior quarterback Grant Gavin has completed 110 of his 217 pass attempts for 1,191 yards and 7 touchdowns. However, he has thrown 15 interceptions. Bowers adds that St. Pius is now concentrating on the ground game with two-back formations running behind a line that features a couple of big guys up front.
“They just line up and stick it at you,” Bowers said. “The quarterback is a three-year starter. He throws it well when they have to throw it, but I think they’ve decided their bread and butter is lining it up and powering the ball at you.”