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Refocused: Wildcats attempting blemish to undefeated region leader Brunswick
Ravon Grant
Ravon Grant runs the ball in game at Northside - photo by Gerald Thomas III

“To be the man, you gotta beat the man!” – Words made famous by professional wrestling legend and 16-time world champion Ric Flair.

That is a quote that the Richmond Hill Wildcats (2-4, 2-1 Region 2-6A) will need to live by with their upcoming game at the No. 10 Brunswick Tigers (7-0, 3-0 Region 2-6A).

Going into enemy territory the Wildcats will need to put together a well strategized game to knock off the 6A powerhouse and region leader in the Tigers as Richmond Hill is tied for second with Glynn Academy in the standings.

A season ago when these teams played, the Wildcats sent the Tigers back down I-95 South with a 42-27 loss.

“They returned a lot of players off of that team last year and we didn’t – that’s about the only difference,” Wildcats Head Coach Matt LeZotte said. “Everyone is still trying to figure how good everybody in the region is and I think Brunswick is still trying to figure out how good they are.”

The Wildcats are coming off a 28-6 win over Effingham County on Oct. 8.

“We played on their half of the field for the majority of the night,” LeZotte said about their previous game. “Very rare did we start in our own territory because our defense did a great job at giving us great field position. We just got to continue to convert those drives to points. We turned over the ball a good bit the last two games. That’s unacceptable. When you go against a very good team like Brunswick, they’ll make you pay if you’re not able to convert on opportunities. The football is our most prized possession out there on the field. When I addressed our team after we finished the game, I didn’t mention Effingham. We just had won a big ball game that’s huge for our season. But I said we’re on to Brunswick. The focus changed immediately and that’s the way it’s got to be. We don’t hold on to wins. We have trained our program to go play a game, enjoy wins, and be ready to refocus on Monday for the next opponent no matter how big the win is.”

Quarterback Ty Goldrick had 248 yards and a touchdown on a 15-23 passing clip, leading the offense.

His favorite target, wide receiver Ravon Grant assisted as he continues to put everyone on notice in his junior campaign, catching five passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.

Ryan Dekle, Caleb Easterling, and Zion Gilliard put in some decent rushes for the Wildcats, combining for 151 yards and two touchdowns.

The Wildcats allowed their lowest point output thus far in the season in their last contest, being led by linebacker Isaac Novinski and Easterling, who combined for two interceptions.

The Tigers have yet to be beaten this season, winning seven straight, and looking to keep it that way on Friday.

They defeated Statesboro in their last contest, 21-0.

Statesboro is the only common opponent that the Wildcats and the Tigers have so far this season, with the former dropping to them 27-21 in a down to the wire contest.

This season, the Tigers have averaged 35.7 points per game through seven games as the Wildcats allow 24.2.

The Tigers split snaps between two quarterbacks with senior Jeffery Waye and junior Sutton Ellis putting in 860 passing yards, seven touchdowns, and seven interceptions.

Their driving force is their rushing game, where they have three capable senior backs led by Chuckobe Hill’s 579 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.

Ree Simmons and Lee Charlton follows closely behind with the former adding 408 yards and seven touchdowns and the latter picking up 243 yards and six touchdowns.

Their big men up front is 3-star Florida State commit senior Kanaya Charlton and Power Five prospect junior Jamal Meriweather headlining the offensive line.

“They’ve always had very good offensive line players,” LeZotte said about the Tigers’ offense. “They’ve got guys at the highest level that are going to be playing in the NFL on Sundays that have played in their program. They’re trying to utilize that talent and doing a lot better job this year to produce some results.”

Scores have been hard to come by against for Tiger opponents this season, allowing an average of only 11.1 points.

The Wildcats enter Friday with an average of 21.2 points an outing.

The Tigers are led by the quarterback of their defense in senior linebacker Adam Mweemba, reeling in a team leading 52 tackles.

Junior Ka’Shawn Thomas is on the Tigers’ defensive line as the Power Five recruit has 35 tackles in the season.

Junior Ivan Johnson has also made plays for the Tigers with his 36 tackles from safety, holding down the secondary.

“They have one of the highest rated defensive tackles in the country,” LeZotte said about Thomas. “They do a great job of stopping the run and playing really fast. The biggest thing for us is going to be execution. Same as any other thing. I care way less about what they do and more about how we execute and handle our business. The better team’s going to win on Friday night. You hope that’s the way it pans out. Most times that’s what happens. But more times than not it’s the team that goes out there and execute the best that has the upper hand. Especially in a matchup of two very good football teams. We continue to get better every week. That’s the most scary thing on film. We’re going to have to show up play a real physical brand of football.”

The Wildcats will look to take down the unblemished Tigers in a Region 2-6A that will take place at Glynn County Stadium in Brunswick on Friday, Oct. 15.

“They’ve had a tremendous season so far and it’s excited to be ranked as high as they are in the state,” LeZotte said. “We’re looking forward to the challenge of being an underdog again going into a football game. We approach being favored or an underdog any differently. This is not just coach talk. We approach every single game like it’s got to be our best game. Like it’s our Super Bowl or last game we’re going to play as a team. We’re going to play against one of the top teams in the state of Georgia. When they played us last year, they were in the same boat with us being highly ranked as we were. It’s kind of shifted but our guys are going to ready to play against a high-quality team.”

Kickoff is set for 7:30.  

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