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By Russ Green-Sports Editor
Richmond coach Rob Bowers hopes his team has learned valuable lessons from last week’s 42-13 debacle at Lawson. Bowers said the one thing his young team needs to learn is that game preparation is a weeklong effort.
“You cannot get prepared emotionally, or get focused on the bus ride over or starting on Friday,” he said. “It has to be a process and we didn’t do that and we paid the price for it.”
As a result, the Spartan offense sputtered and managed just 154 total yards, while the defense gave up big plays and over 389 yards to the Cardinals, while miscues in the kicking game led directly to three Lawson scores.
This week the Spartans will play their first game of the season in the friendlier surroundings of Tom Adams Field at Spartan Stadium to host the Excelsior Springs Tigers. Bowers said it will be nice to be at home and believes that will help his squad focus a bit more. The main focus of his team, he adds, is to get better.
“At this point of the season, it’s all about us – not who we are playing or what they’re running or how they’re doing things,” he said. “We have to get better at doing what we’re trying to do and hopefully being here at home, the kids will feel more comfortable and we’ll do a better job with that.”
The Tigers have split their first two games of the season. After opening with a convincing 33-7 win at Warrensburg, the Tigers had their home opener spoiled by Cameron 38-15. The Dragons, with eight returning starters on both sides of the ball, shut down the Excelsior Springs offense and held the Tigers to 71 rushing yards while making 9 stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Excelsior Springs is replacing a talented senior class from last year that led them to a 7-3 record – one of its best showings since 2007. Josh Buford takes over the Tiger program that does have some key returning players from last season’s campaign.
“They have a new coach and I’m sure they’re going through a few growing pains,” Bowers said. “They graduated several players from a real good team last year, so I’m sure they’re breaking in some new people.”
One of those veteran Tigers is senior running back Nick Masoner, who ranked third on the Tigers’ all-purpose yardage list from last year. Mason was also the third-leading rusher with 194 yards and 6 touchdowns on 27 carries. He booted 34 of 39 extra point kicks as well.