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Wildcats drop first game of the year
Richmond Hill's Nico DeCosta, 56, makes one of his team-high 10 tackles against Brunswick at home Friday night. - photo by Ted O'Neil

Shouts of “region champs” rung out in Wildcat Stadium Friday night, but they were coming from the visitor’s sideline after Brunswick defeated Richmond Hill 56-34 to claim the Region 2-AAAAA title.

“Brunswick is the best team in the region,” Wildcats Coach Matt LeZotte said afterward. “Everyone here tonight saw that. “I still think we’re a great team, too, but we made some mistakes that kept us out of the game.”

Brunswick is now 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the region. Richmond Hill falls to 7-1 overall and 2-1 in the region. The Wildcats need a win against Effingham at home next week to secure the No. 2 seed in the region and be assured of hosting a first-round playoff game.

The Pirates set the tone for the game when it forced a Richmond Hill fumble on the Wildcats’ second play of the game at the 6-yard line and scored, taking a 7-0 lead 48 seconds into the game.

“That was a big mistake, but mistakes happen,” LeZotte said. “That was just one of many and I made the most mistakes. I should have called something different there.”

Richmond Hill tied the game at 7-7 with 4:45 left in the first quarter when Maurice Smith scored the first of his four touchdowns from six yards out.

Smith ran the ball 13 out of the Wildcats’ 15 plays on that series. He would finish with 159 yards on 32 carries.

The Pirates answered quickly, needing just five plays to go up 14-7 with three minutes left in the first quarter, and Brunswick would take a 21-7 lead 10 seconds into the second quarter.

Aaron Bedgood would score on a 10-yard pass from Kasey Green with 9:45 left in the first half, but a minute later Brunswick extended its lead to 28-13.

Smith’s second touchdown got the Wildcats to within eight with less than two minutes left in the half, but Brunswick would score with 39 seconds left to take a 34-20 lead into halftime.

The teams traded possessions for most of the third quarter until the Pirates scored with 1:24 to go, taking a 42-20 lead. It was 48-34 one minute left in the game after Smith’s final touchdown, but Brunswick scored with 35 seconds left on a deep pass from its own 45, and the two-point conversion made it 58-34.

Green ended up 15-of-34 passing for 173 yards, while Sam James had three catches for 58 yards and 83 kick-return yards. Nico DeCosta led the Richmond Hill defense with 10 tackles.

LeZotte said his team needs to forget about this game and focus on Effingham.

“I’m going to tell the coaches to not even show the players any film from this game,” he said.

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