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By Russ Green-Sports Editor
After playing their first home game of the season in last Friday night’s 23-20 victory over Excelsior Springs, the Richmond Spartans head back out on the road for the third time in four weeks Friday night.
The Spartans travel to Kansas City Central in the final pre-MRVC East matchup of the season against the Eagles in a meeting of 2-1 teams. It is also a key contest for Richmond as far as the Class 3, District 8 standings shape up. The Spartans currently rank third behind undefeated Cameron and Maryville in the eight-team standings with 35.3 points, with Central in fifth with 30.6 points. The top four in each district will host the first district playoff game in week No. 10.
The Spartans were able to get a little more balance in their attack during Friday’s win over the Tigers. Richmond rushed for 164 yards, while Quinton Maxwell completed 7 of 12 passes for 92 yards. Three different receivers combined for those catches – three of them for touchdowns.
Richmond coach Rob Bowers knows the passing game will help the running attack down the line.
“We have tried to throw a little before,” he said. “But for one reason or another, protection has broken down, or the receivers haven’t been open and Quinton has had to pull it down and run it. We haven’t thrown it as much as we’ve called, but we did a better job Friday night.”
Bowers said his receivers ran better routes and his quarterback threw the ball better. Junior Dylan Seely has been the main target – especially the last two weeks. He hauled in 4 passes against Lawson for 34 yards and last week grabbed 5 more for 55 yards and his first touchdown.
“He does a nice job,” Bowers said. “He’s quick and catches the ball well. He’s good with the ball after he catches it, but we need some of the others to step up. We would like to spread it out a little more than we’ve done the last couple of weeks.”
Bowers added his offense played much better in the first half then over the final two periods, but part of that was due to scaling back the passing attack in the second half with Richmond holding a 14-point lead.
“I didn’t want us to make the big mistake and let them back in the game, but we did it with the run game anyway,” he said. “I probably got a little too conservative in the second half with the throwing game and then we ended up hanging on to win.”
Bowers also said his team didn’t block as well over the final two periods.
“We played pretty well offensively in the first half,” he said. “We had some opportunities and took advantage of them, but in the second half we had some opportunities where we had penalties stop drives. Then we quit blocking things the way we had in the first half and were making assignment mistakes.”