St. Pius stuns Spartans in district opener

Matt Stafford (62) and Caleb Scarborough (50) combine to force a fumble by St. Pius running back Gabe Akalugwu (3). Derek Rickart (79) recovered for the Spartans late in the second quarter of Richmond’s 35-13 loss to the Warriors at Tom Adams Field. (Photo by Russ Green/Richmond News.)

By Russ Green-Sports Editor

In the end, the injuries finally took their toll on the Richmond Spartans. With as many as four starters forced to the sidelines, the Spartans saw their 2012 football season come to a premature end Friday night at Tom Adams Field in a 35-13 loss to St. Pius in the first round of the Class 3, District 8 playoffs.

St. Pius, winners of four in a row and now 4-6, will host Cameron Wednesday night. The Dragons won their second game of the season by rolling over the No. 2 seed, KC East 38-6. The Spartans split their 10 games this season.

With a good portion of the Spartan firepower on the sidelines, Richmond managed just 82 yards on the ground and 26 more through the air. Richmond’s leading rusher for the season, Jimmy Hamm, was out again with a broken hand and Tevin Robinson got his second start at running back, but he left after only six carries when he reinjured his ankle. The senior played sparingly on defense for the rest of the night at linebacker.

The Warriors were able to move the ball at ease against the banged up defense. St. Pius showed a balanced attack with 113 yards rushing and 110 passing.

“They were winning the battle up front and that was making it tough,” Richmond Coach Rob Bowers said. “Our linebackers and safeties are inexperienced and young, so they were hurting us where we could be hurt. We just really didn’t have an answer for it. The effort was there and the kids played hard and gave it everything they had, but tonight, we just didn’t have what was needed to be successful offensively or defensively.”

St. Pius spread the running attack around with Nicholas Kelliher picking up 48 yards on 10 carries, with Joe McCoy also getting 10 attempts and running for 42 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile quarterback Grant Gavin completed 10 of 17 passes to four different receivers with three touchdowns and one interception. Marshall Mason caught 4 passes for 47 yards and a pair of touchdowns, with Bennie Palmentere grabbing 3 passes for 29 yards and a score.

Richmond’s only touchdowns came from the special teams with Lendarrius Pritchett scoring on a kickoff return in the first half and a punt return in the second half. Offensively, he was held to just one catch for 13 yards.

 The complete story is in the Monday, Oct. 29, 2012 Richmond News.

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