• RHHS hosts Glynn Academy, 7:30 p.m.
Richmond Hill’s first road test of the season proved to be a tough one.
After opening the season with two home wins, the Wildcats lost 51-24 last Friday at Ware County.
RHHS led early in the game before Ware County erupted for 34 points in the second quarter to open a 42-14 halftime lead.
“We turned the ball over and didn’t capitalize on opportunities we had both offensively and defensively,” Wildcats head coach Matt LeZotte
lamented. “We lost the field-position battle in the second quarter.”
Ware County rolled up 462 yards, including 415 rushing, to remain unbeaten at 4-0 overall and 2-0 in Region 3-AAAAA. Richmond Hill fell to 2-1 and 1-1.
The Wildcats will be back home at 7:30 p.m. Friday to face Glynn Academy (2-2, 1-1) in a key game as both teams look to avoid a second region loss.
Glynn, a state playoff quarterfinalist last year, opened this season with wins over Wayne County and Brunswick before losing 24-17 to Camden County. The Red Terrors were blanked 22-0 last Friday by Coffee.
“They are very good team that is very well-coached and execute their schemes very, very well,” LeZotte said of Glynn. “We sure can’t go out and have a second quarter like we did against Ware.”
Ware County’s big second quarter forced Richmond Hill to play from behind for most of the night. Maurice Smith ran for 32 yards and a touchdown on eight carries for RHHS, but the Wildcats had only 10 other rushing attempts for a total of 15 yards.
Aaron Bedgood piled up 117 yards and a touchdown on two receptions, including an 87-yarder. Sam James hauled in a team-high five catches for 76 yards.
Xavier Bryant-Long saw his most action of the season at quarterback and completed 9 of 12 passes for 117 yards. Starter Brian Hughes finished 2 of 6 for 92 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
“We always are going to go with the quarterback that is hottest. It just so happened that Xavier had his game on,” LeZotte said. “We are very fortunate to be in the situation we are in with our two quarterbacks, and plan on using them both throughout the season.”
Josh Washington scored the Wildcats’ other touchdown on an 86-yard fumble return. Washington also made nine tackles, six of them solos.
Aaron Chick led the RHHS defense with 12 tackles, including eight solo stops and a tackle for loss. Tyler Milbradt added 10 tackles, while Brandon Armstrong and James each notched nine.
Hughes’ interception was returned 29 yards for a touchdown by Deandre Taylor to put Ware County up 28-14. The Wildcats also lost a fumble, punted four times and were outgained 462 yards to 256.
“Our offense is going to have to spend more time on the field if we expect to be successful against anyone in our region,” LeZotte said. “We will do a better job preparing the guys. It is my fault that our team was not prepared this last week because we did have opportunities to be successful.”
Despite the lopsided loss, LeZotte saw positives in his team’s effort against Ware County.
“We didn’t quit,” he said. “We could have folded up when it got tough in the second quarter, but we did not. This seems to be a recurring theme with our team, and I am proud of the mentality we are developing in our program.”