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Bliss leads Wildcats past Jenkins; Border War up next

It was only appropriate that on Senior Night it was a senior who was the driving force as Richmond Hill posted a rebound 28-7 win over Jenkins last Friday night at Wildcats Stadium.

Nick Bliss continued his assault on opposing teams as he scored three touchdowns and piled up 157 all-purpose yards spark the Wildcats (2-1) who were coming off a 28-7 loss to Ware County.

Bliss scored on a 3-yard run on Richmond Hill’s first possession and the next time the Wildcats got the ball he hauled in a 36-yard pass from junior quarterback Kirk Scott for a quick 14-0 lead to cap an 80-yard drive. Josh Troupe made it a 21-0 Wildcats lead at the half when he scored on a 1-yard run to finish a 37-yard drive. Bliss then made it a 28-0 game when he went 66 yards in the fourth quarter. The Warriors got on the board in the closing minutes when they scored against Richmond Hill reserves.

Bliss finished with 157 all-purpose yards as he had four carriers for 74 yards, caught four passes for 49 yards and returned a kick 34 yards. He now has 483 all-purpose yards and has scored seven touchdowns four different ways: three rushing, two receiving, one on a kickoff return and one off a blocked punt.

The Wildcats were coming off a 28-7 loss to Ware County but showed no lingering after effects as they easily handled the Warriors who did not get on the board until the fourth quarter. The game was long decided at that point.

Coach Matt LeZotte wasn’t entirely happy with the way his team played but all things considered it wasn’t bad, either.

Due to dealing with Hurricane Idalia the Wildcats had an abbreviated practice week.

While Monday was a regular session, Tuesday’s practice was moved indoors due to lightning, there was no practice Wednesday and Thursday was focused on making sure players and their families were all accounted for and to see if anyone needed anything.

The Wildcats defense controlled the game and set the tone at the outset when on the first series of the game it tackled the Jenkins punter at the Warrior 10. Bliss scored on two carries.

Troupe finished the game with 90 yards on 15 carries while senior Elijah Blige added 55. Scott completed five of eight passes for 58 yards and picked up 22 on the ground.

On the defensive side linebacker Gabe Bauman had 10 tackles with Lee Johnson making seven stops and Tad Christman getting six tackles and a sack.

Richmond Hill will take a big step up in competition this week when it takes on Creekside, Fl., at 4 p.m. Saturday at Glynn County Stadium. The game will be part of the second annual Border Wars battle which features seven contests between top Southeast Georgia teams against top teams from North Florida.

Creekside (1-1) is coming off an impressive 51-23 win over Nease and was ranked No 7 in Florida’s 4S pre-season rankings. It dropped out after losing to a strong Palm Beach Central team, 55-48, in its opener.

The Richmond Hill defense will get its strongest test of the season. The Knights have scored 99 points and are averaging nearly 500 yards per game in total offense, over 300 on the ground. They feature two of metro Jacksonville’s top running backs in seniors Nicky Williams and Harrison Garrido.

Williams had 111 yards against Palm Beach but did not play against Nease due to injury. Garrido took up the slack with 330 yards total offense, 165 on the ground and 165 on kick returns. Williams is expected back this week.

Quarterback Sean Ashenfelder has thrown for 360 yards in two games but he also showed his versatility when he ran 65 yards for a touchdown against Nease.

The Border Wars event offers games running Thursday through Saturday. Two games will be played Thursday starting with Charlton County taking on University Christian at 4:30 p.m., followed by two on Friday and three on Saturday.

The first game Saturday will have McIntosh County Academy playing West Nassau at 1 p.m. followed by Richmond Hill vs. Creekside and Brunswick taking on St. Augustine at 7:30.

For some unexplained reason the Richmond Hill game was deleted from the Max Preps schedule this past week showing the Wildcats and Creekside with an open date. However, Richmond Hill athletic director Stacy Bennett said Sunday the game will be played.

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