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Wildcats win region opener
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Soldiers from Fort Stewart accompany Richmond Hill's captains to midfield Thursday night for the coin toss against Bradwell Institute on Military Appreciation Night. - photo by Ted O'Neil

After not playing for almost two weeks and losing practice time to Hurricane Matthew, Richmond Hill’s football team was steady but not flashy in 28-6 home win over Bradwell Institute Thursday night.

The Wildcats scored one touchdown in each quarter and made defensive stops when they had to in controlling the game.

“We were a little rusty but we also left some points out on the field,” Coach Matt LeZotte said. “The bye week gave us time to get healthy, but we didn’t have a lot of time to prepare.”

Richmond Hill struck first on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Kasey Green to Justin Jeffery one minute into the first quarter that was set up by an Aaron Bedgood kickoff return. Joseph Petrino was good on the PAT — his first of four on the night — to make it 7-0.

After Sam James blocked a Bradwell field goal attempt early in the second quarter, Green threw another 48-yard strike — this time to Bedgood — and the Wildcats had a 14-0 halftime lead.

Bedgood was then on the delivering end of a touchdown, tossing an 8-yard pass to Tegan Henderson in the endzone with 9:40 left in the third quarter.

The Tigers were able to get on the board after a controversial call gave them the ball at Richmond Hill’s 10-yard line on what appeared to be a Wildcat interception. Brian Hughes and the Bradwell receiver both came down with the ball, but the officials let the Tigers keep possession on what they termed a “simultaneous catch.” Bradwell’s Kevin Harris ran the ball in from four yards out two plays later, but the Tigers botched the extra point.

Richmond Hill recovered the ensuing on-side kick at their 45-yard line, and a pass from Green to James moved the ball to the Bradwell five-yard line. Maurice Smith punched the ball in for Richmond Hill’s last score on a direct snap.

“A win is a win, so we’re blessed,” LeZotte said. “We’ll have to continue to prepare because we have three tough opponents left.”

Richmond Hill, now 6-0 overall and 1-0 in Region 2-AAAAAA, hosts Glynn Academy Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. The Terrors are 5-1 heading into their first region game Friday night against Brunswick. Bradwell, meanwhile, falls to 2-3-1 overall and 0-1 in the region and faces Brunswick Oct. 24 in a game that was postponed due to Hurricane Matthew.

“We all have to play each other from here out,” LeZotte said about the region schedule.

Richmond Hill finishes with games at Brunswick Oct. 28 and at Effingham Nov. 4.

“We have to keep getting better at the little things,” he added. “I thought our defense played well. I called some plays on offense I probably shouldn’t have, but overall we played an average game.”

Bedgood accounted for 138 total yards in addition to his two touchdowns on the night. Green was 11-for-19 passing for 201 yards and two touchdowns, while Jeffery had two receptions for 60 yards including his touchdown catch.

Nico DeCosta led the Wildcats with 13 tackles, including 10 solo.

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