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RH uses balanced air, ground attack for 35-13 win
Maurice Smith TD
Richmond Hill's Maurice Smith avoids a tackler on one of his three touchdowns during the Wildcats' 35-13 win over visiting Southeast Bulloch Friday night. - photo by Ted O'Neil

Maurice Smith ran for three touchdowns and Kasey Green threw for two more as Richmond Hill opened the 2016 season with a 35-13 win over visiting Southeast Bulloch Friday night.

Green, a junior, started his first varsity game in place of Brian Hughes, who was not allowed to dress for the game.

“Kasey did a great job,” Wildcat Coach Matt LeZotte said. “I’m really proud of him. There was a lot going on and he showed great composure.”

After Smith scored his first touchdown on a first and goal from the 3-yard line just 3:30 into the game, Green connected with Sam James on an 80-yard strike to give Richmond Hill a 14-0 lead.

Richmond Hill went up 21-0 on another Smith touchdown from six yards out with 9:44 left in the first half.

A few minutes later Green connected with Justin Jeffery on a screen pass, and the junior wide receiver faked out his defender and took the ball 49 yards to the end zone as the Wildcats went up 28-0. LeZotte turned on the sideline and yelled “That was a move for the ages” at no one in particular.

Southeast Bulloch managed a touchdown with 3:50 to go before halftime but botched the point-after attempt.

Smith’s final touchdown with 1:43 left in the third quarter rounded out Richmond Hill’s scoring. The Yellow Jackets managed another touchdown with 3:50 left in the game.

Wildcat kicker Joseph Petrino, who connected on all five of his point after attempts, fell just short on a 59-yard field goal attempt with a minute left in the game. He connected on a 52-yarder in Richmond Hill’s scrimmage two weeks ago.

“He hit one from 57 in warmups,” LeZotte said. “You don’t know unless you try.”

For the game Smith had 12 carries for 92 yards, while Green was 12-for-19 for 241 yards passing. James and Jeffery had four catches each for 123 yards and 60 yards, respectively. Kywann Green was the leading tackler with five solos and four assists.

Richmond Hill plays at Brantley County at 7:30 p.m. Friday. LeZotte said the next week of practice will include competition at the quarterback position and more focus on avoiding what he called “silly” penalties.

“We started too many drives with first down and 15 yards to go,” he said. “But that’s fixable. That’s inexperience, not lack of ability. But I’m very encouraged because we’re really young. We have a lot of 10th graders playing and this is 6A big boy ball.”

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