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By Russ Green-Sports Editor
The Richmond Spartans have a few goals in mind when they hit Tom Adams Field Friday night in the annual Bell Game against the Lexington Minutemen. The Spartans, 5-3 overall, would like to close out the MRVC East campaign with a second consecutive 3-2 record. In addition, a win over the Minutemen would lock Richmond into third spot in the District 8 standings with at least one guaranteed home game when the playoffs begin next Friday night.
The Spartans would also like to send their senior class out with a regular-season victory and of course, there is the Saluda Bell. After Lexington dominated the early Bell Games that were established in 1988, it has been the Spartans taking over the series and now lead 14-11. Richmond has won the last four meetings and 10 of 13 since the turn of the century.
“In high school football, things go up and down and we’ve been fortunate enough recently to have some success against them,” RHS coach Rob Bowers said. “That being said, that will not score us any points Friday night. If we want to keep the bell, we have to play better than Lexington Friday night. If not – Lexington will get it.”
The Minutemen enter Friday night’s 7 p.m. kickoff with a 3-5 mark, including a 2-2 record in the league. Lexington opened the season by losing its first three to Oak Grove, Trenton and at Osceola. Lexington lost at Higginsville last week 55-6, while the Spartans were coming off one of their better performances of the year – a 49-0 drubbing of visiting Knob Noster.
Bowers was pleased with his defensive effort that resulted in an interception return for a touchdown, created turnovers and set up short fields for the offense.
“When you get the ball rolling downhill like that, everybody just seems to pick up steam,” he said. “It’s good to have a game like that. It helps the kids’ confidence and makes going to practice the next week that much easier.”
The Lexington ground game is led by junior running back Tommie Smith. Smith has rushed for 1,115 yards with an average gain of 6.7 yards a carry, while leading the Minutemen with 10 touchdowns. Quarterback Jevon Williams is a dual-threat signal caller. The senior has completed 72 of 142 passes for 962 yards with 8 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, while picking up an additional 471 rushing yards with a half dozen touchdowns.