Richmond Hill’s best season in more than a decade came to an abrupt end Friday night in Warner Robins, as the Wildcats fell 17-15 to the Demons on a last-second field goal.
Afterward, Richmond Hill coach Lyman Guy praised his players and his staff for their work during a season in which the Wildcats (8-3) came seven points and less than 90 seconds from being unbeaten and still alive in the Class AAAAA playoffs.
"The players and my coaching staff did an outstanding job, all season" Guy said. "As the head coach, I just wish I could have given them another week."
The upstart Wildcats were 18-point underdogs to the Demons according to Georgia High School Football Daily, but played as if they were the favorites.
After the Demons opened the contest with a quick 80-yard scoring drive that took a little less than two minutes off the clock, Richmond Hill responded with a 49-yard field goal from Canon Rooker to pull to within 7-3.
The Wildcats took the lead in the second quarter on a 1-yard run from Dominique Allen on a drive set up by runs from David Katzman, Michael Clark, Ronnie Harris and a 39-yard scamper from Allen. But the kick was ruled no good, leaving Richmond Hill with a 9-7 lead.
The Demons responded with a touchdown run from Danny Hite Jr. with 35 seconds to go in the half
Richmond Hill took the lead in the third quarter on a winding 65-yard run from Allen, but Warner Robins stopped a two-point attempt.
Neither team found the end zone again, but Warner Robins got one last possession at its own 30 with 4:30 left in the game.
The Demons moved the ball down to the Richmond Hill 15, then let the clock tick down to 25 seconds before Matt Monday’s 32-yard field goal gave the Demons the 17-15 lead.
On the Wildcats’ last possession, Richmond Hill moved the ball to midfield before time ran out, ending the best season for the Wildcats since the 1996 team finished 9-4 and went to the Class AA quarterfinals.
"God really blessed us this year," Guy said. "We had a good group of kids, they had good chemistry and they represented the community, their faith and their families well."
Allen, a senior who has already committed to the Air Force Academy, finished with 177 yards rushing on 19 carries while senior running back David Katzman added 117 hard-fought yards on 25 carries.
Clark had 35 yards on four carries and Harris ran twice for 17 yards for Richmond Hill, which rushed for more than 347 yards against a defense that gave up only 106 yards rushing a game.
Allen also completed 4-of-10 passes for 38 yards and he was intercepted once. Nick Fitzgerald caught three passes for 29 yards and Hank Ferendo had one catch for nine yards.
Richmond Hill’s defense played inspired against an offense that averaged 37 points a game. Defensive end Zach Stegner and defensive back Tommy Washington each had six tackles while Taylor Hayes and Quanzell Blow had five tackles apiece. Blow also recovered a fumble.
Ethan Bowling and Nathan Soliata had four tackles each.
Guy said the Wildcats earned some respect this season.
"When we have the opportunity to look back we’ll see how far we’ve come as a program," he said. "It was a very good year and we have good things ahead of us. I just wish I could have given them another week to play this season."
Look for a review of the Wildcats’ 2012 season soon.
See complete stats at bryancountynews.net.