Richmond Hill will wrap up its football season in an unfortunately appropriate manner — playing another strong team.
When the Wildcats, who are 3-6 overall, host Liberty County on Friday, it will mark the sixth time in seven games that RHHS will face a team with a winning record.
Richmond Hill’s six losses this season were to teams with a cumulative winning percentage of 70.4 percent.
“Our region is one of the toughest in the state,” RHHS head coach Matthew LeZotte said. “Our guys have seen that it is a weekly grind, with no time to waste in the preparation process. When you play a schedule like we play, we must be focused in all aspects of the football program. We are learning that, as a program, and the future will be bright. Our guys have committed to ‘The Hill,’ and we are proud of that.”
The Wildcats’ most-recent defeat came last Friday, when they fell to Coffee 41-14 on the road for their third-straight loss. Coffee (8-1), which had a 34-7 halftime lead, notched 539 total yards of offense, including 398 on the ground. Four Trojans had at least 53 rushing yards, led by Jay Ashley with 100.
“Last Friday, we had a tough opponent in Coffee. As we found out, they are one of the top teams in the state and one heck of a program,” LeZotte said. “They are one of the measuring sticks for AAAAA football. I felt like we had opportunities to capitalize, but failed to act. We will continue to work on the small things to make the big picture come together.”
The Wildcats were led by Sam James, who had 176 all-purpose yards, including 98 receiving and 68 on kick returns.
Quarterback Brian Hughes was 9-of-19 passing for 148 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also had 16 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown. Maurice Smith added 30 yards on 13 rushes, while Aaron Bedgood had four catches for 36 yards.
On defense for RHHS, Kywann Green had 13 tackles, including three for loss of yards. Aaron Chick had 12 tackles, and Tyler Milbradt had 10.
This Friday, the Panthers (6-3), who are coming off a bye week, will bring another good rushing attack for the Wildcats to face. Liberty averages 247.2 rushing yards per game, led by Jacquez Williams’ 115.4 per contest.
The Panthers also feature one of the best all-around players in the Southeast in Richard LeCounte III. On offense, the junior leads the team with 494 receiving yards, is second with 565 rushing yards and also has spent time at quarterback. Defensively, he leads the Panthers with 78 tackles and is a special-teams terror, averaging 30.3 yards per kickoff return.
LeCounte, a junior, is rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and has received 24 scholarship offers. On Sunday, he tweeted his top-seven schools as, in no particular order, Ohio State, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Southern. Tyler Donohue, the national recruiting analyst for Bleacher Report, wrote Monday that Ohio State — where LeCounte’s former high-school teammate Raekwon McMillan is a starting linebacker — has the best odds of securing LeCounte’s services, with UGA a close second.
At quarterback for the Panthers, Jaalon Frazier had completed 49 percent of his passes this season for 1,264 yards and 12 touchdowns against five interceptions.
“Liberty is one of the most talented teams we have seen all year,” LeZotte said. “The skill positions are stacked, and the line of scrimmage is large and athletic. They are a very good team, and we will have to execute well to have a shot this Friday.”
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.