Stopping big plays the goal for Spartan defense

By Russ Green-Sports Editor

The Richmond Spartans will attempt to put last week’s frustrating MRVC East loss at Higginsville behind them as they host Carrollton for Homecoming Friday night at Tom Adams Field. The Spartans look to find their way back to the victory column after back-to-back losses and take a 1-4 overall mark into the 7 p.m. kickoff.

Carrollton survived an upset bid last week and escaped its conference opener against visiting Knob Noster 15-14 and brings a 2-3 record to town.

A banged-up Spartan squad gave Higginsville a tough battle after the Huskers jumped out to a quick two-touchdown advantage last week. Richmond bounced back only to fall 24-12, but Spartan coach Rob Bowers was pleased with how his young squad didn’t quit.

The Spartans had a chance to cut the deficit to six points early in the second half, but a long touchdown run was called back on a holding call. The score could have changed the complexion of the game.

“We could’ve gotten within six and put a little pressure on them,” Bowers said. “They haven’t had to play from behind very much or had much pressure on them this year. If we could have gotten closer, I think we could have added a little more pressure on them.”

The Spartans ended the night with eight penalties for a loss of 68 yards, which put the offense in a bind most of the night Bowers said.

“When your trying to get things going offensively, long-yardage situations really puts a hurt on us,” he said. “We have to get better at dealing with those. We need to get more confident that we can be in a third-and-long, or third-and-12 and pick that up.”

The Spartans managed just 104 yards rushing and picked up an additional 168 through the air. Bowers said it is important for his team to get off to a good start – on both sides of the ball. Defensively, Richmond surrendered seven plays of 15 yards or more including a 63-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw and two more first-half scores of 35 and 41 yards.

Bowers said the defense needs to cut down on the number of big-yardage plays.

“Almost all of them are broken assignments,” he said. “When we get lined up correctly and people do what they are supposed to do, we play pretty well defensively. It’s not so much us getting physically whipped, we’re just not in the right spot when we need to be there – whether it’s a blitz that goes to the wrong gap, or a lineman slanting the wrong way – it’s a variety of different things, we just have to get them cleaned up.”

The complete story is in the Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014 Richmond News.

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