By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Tale of two halves for Richmond Hill
Cross Creek parleys strong first half into 26-0 win
Wildcat coach Brian Brocato has a word with defensive back Mike Morris at the sideline. - photo by Terry Logan
A Jekyll and Hyde pattern is starting to emerge for Richmond Hill Wildcat fans. Last week they saw their offense have a good outing against traditionally powerful Washington County team by managing 19 points.
This Friday in Augusta the defense played well, at least in the second half, during a 26-0 whitewash at the hands of Cross Creek.
Now head coach Brian Brocato must hope both teams get off the bus next week at South Effingham for the start of their Region 3-AAA South schedule.
Cross Creek is now 5-0 and off to their best start in their schools history. They are a senior laden team, and were coming off a big win at South Effingham last week. So it was no surprise that the 1-4 Wildcats were going to have their hands full against the Razorbacks. Brocato knew his opponents had a lot of team speed but didn't foresee the defensive effort they were about to encounter.
"You can't tell about speed on film but we knew they were fast.... I was proud of the way we played defense against them especially in the second half, but we were a little shocked they played defense as well as they did,” Brocato said. “We didn't really see that on film."
Richmond Hill lined up in its wishbone formation most of the night; where the Wildcats have had a lot of their success moving the ball this season. Against the Razorbacks they ran the ball between the tackles 44 times but could manage only 50 yards of total offense on the night. Tyler Mitchell got 16 of those carries for 47 yards.
Quarterback Xavier Owens, who has been successful in providing a diversion to the Wildcats "grind it out" strategy, was sacked five times and was only able to break away on decent gains a couple of times.
In the meantime, Cross Creek did all the damage it needed to early.
Senior quarterback Kennan Grissett ran the ball and was able to connect with senior receiver Eric Eitson on their first short drive, set up when Richmond Hill's fourth and two play failed on their first drive on their own 37.
On the Razorbacks next possession, senior running back Patrick Province, who did most of the damage running, scored on a 5-yard run, but this time the extra point kick failed and Cross Creek had an early 13-0 lead.
A Province fumble after another long gain – caused by Wildcat defensive back Brent Gambill and recovered by D.J. Stembridge at the Richmond Hill 16 yard line – helped keep the score a little closer.
The Razorbacks did manage another late first half drive and scored with just 38seconds left on, yet another senior receiver; Emory Wilson's, 8 yard reverse. The game was delayed 10 minutes when Richmond Hill defensive end Michael Johnson was injured on the play. Finally he was helped off the field; right leg in cast.
Defensively the second half was a different game.
Richmond Hill finally found a way to start getting pressure on Grissett and linebacker Nick Montalto picked up a sack on the Razorbacks first drive, forcing them in to their first  three-and-out punt of the game. The Wildcats ate a lot of third quarter clock by going on their best drive of the game, but the Razorbacks took over on downs at their own 28.
 The Razorbacks were forced to punt on their next two possessions and then Richmond Hill's Pierce Carter recovered another Patrick Province fumble to foil the next drive. The Razorbacks scored a meaningless touchdown with time running out on a  pass from Grissett to Wilson with 27 seconds remaining in the game.
The defensive adjustments the coaching staff made at halftime worked against a powerhouse offense. Now they need two halves of good defensive football next week at South Effingham. Brocato is also hopeful that at least one of his two starting halfbacks that have been sidelined with injuries can return to action and help get the offense going as well.     
Sign up for our E-Newsletters