Another tough hurdle ahead as Spartans begin league play

By Russ Green-Sports Editor

After a running a gauntlet that included teams with a combined record of 11-5, things don’t get any easier for the Richmond Spartans this week. The Spartans will travel south Friday night to meet the three-time defending MRVC East champion Higginsville Huskers.

The Spartans will take a 1-3 mark into Friday’s 7 p.m. kickoff and coming off a physically demanding 34-6 loss last week to Class 4 state power Harrisonville. The Huskers, ranked sixth in the latest Class 2 poll, are 4-0 after wins over Concordia, Boonville, KC Central and Trenton.

Despite last week’s loss to the Wildcats, Richmond coach Rob Bowers saw some positive points in his young squad.

“I was proud of the kids,” he said. “I don’t think we went in really intimidated by the team or facilities. I was really pleased the kids played hard. They got beat physically some of the time – but they just kept plugging away and kept getting after it.”

The Spartan defense also continued its season-long trend of creating turnovers. Last week, Richmond took the ball away twice on interceptions (one each by Daymean Probst and Mahki White) and three more times on fumbles (Dylan Seely, Dominic Nobile and Chris Gardner). The Spartan defense has takeaways this season with 11 of those coming in the last two weeks.

“It was a point of emphasis for us and we talked about that before the season began,” Bowers said. “We’re doing that throughout the program. We’ve created turnovers on the varsity level and the lower levels are doing a great job of it, too. That will pay off for us eventually.”

Bowers adds that his team just failed to take advantage of those takeaways last week.

“When we get a turnover, we have to be able take advantage of great field position and get it in the end zone,” he said. “Playing a team like Harrisonville, you have to take advantage of those.”

The Huskers enter Friday night having pitched back-to-back shutouts, while the offense has averaged 46 points a night. All-conference quarterback Matt Gibson has rushed for 202 yards on 20 carries with a pair of touchdowns this season, in addition to completing 35 of 61 passes for 664 yards and eight more scores.

The complete story is in the Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 Richmond News.

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