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By Russ Green-Sports Editor
The Richmond Spartans took advantage of a half dozen Knob Noster turnovers as they returned to Tom Adams Field with a 49-0 win over the visiting Panthers. Richmond recovered four Panther fumbles – three of them coming on kickoffs, while also intercepting a pair of passes.
Meanwhile, the Spartans had very little trouble holding on to the football on a cold and rainy night. Richmond lost a fumble on its very first play from scrimmage in each half, but managed to hold on to the ball for the rest of the night to improve to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the MRVC East.
The Spartan defense put the clamps on the Knob Noster offense as the Panthers dropped their seventh straight game after a season-opening win. Knob Noster, now 0-4 in league play had just 26 yards of offense through the first two periods and ended the night with 133 yards rushing and no passing yardage on 5 attempts.
Richmond coach Rob Bowers likes the way his defense has been playing.
“Coach (Mike) Long and the defensive staff do a great job and been working and working,” he said. “It’s starting to show up. We still have a ways to go, but they played hard and we’re starting to get to the right place. We’ve worked a ton on tackling, but we’re still not where we want to be, but we’re getting better.”
The Spartans had seven plays of over 20 yards, including freshman Mahki White’s 94-yard touchdown run to close out the night’s scoring. Bowers said the credit goes to the front line as well as his receivers getting downfield.
“Our receivers are starting to do a good job of blocking downfield,” Bowers said. “That’s where the big plays come from. Your offensive line can get you a crack, but your perimeter guys have to do a great job downfield. Coach (Jeremy) Helton does a great job with them and has really concentrated on that. There were some really great blocks downfield that opened up some plays for us.”
The Spartans gained 331 rushing yards on just 29 attempts.
Tommy Wedgeworth led the Richmond ground attack. The sophomore tailback picked up 141 yards on 11 carries, with Brock Stokes gaining 45 yards with a half-dozen attempts, and Quinton Maxwell running for 35 yards on 5 carries. Maxwell also completed 4 of his 7 passes for 71 yards and a pair of scores.