After Richmond Hill's Zach Alltop nailed a 20 yard field goal in the first period to give his team an early 3-0 lead over their cross county rival Bryan County, the lament from the coaches patrolling the Wildcat sideline the rest of the game was – "that's not going to be enough."
But it was.
Richmond Hill made the score stand up in what turned out to be a back and forth defensive affair in which neither team took full advantage of the offense they did have.
A fumbled punt attempt led to the field goal opportunity, but on their next possession the Wildcats marched the ball the length of the field only to come up empty.
After Wildcat quarterback Xavier Owen's 13-yard scamper for a first and goal at the 6 yard line the Redskin defense stiffened. Owens’ last two runs from inside the yard line were stopped on third and fourth downs, turning the ball over to Bryan County with just 30 seconds left in the half.
It was a potential game swinging goal line stand, Richmond Hill had dominated the first half with their running game but had only the field goal to show for it. Bryan County whose running game had been effective, but unsustainable due to turnovers and penalties now had the momentum going to the locker room. The battle would continue in the second half.
Both teams spent the third period exchanging punts until the Wildcats tried a fake punt and the direct snap run by Owens went to the other end of the field – only to have the first down called back due to holding.
Owens led all rushers with 82 yards for the Wildcats. Halfback Zach Christie was close behind with 77 yards. The Wildcats finished with 188 total yards, all on the ground.
Bryan County's Ivey Mutcherson led the Redskins with close to 50 yards on the ground. Both teams’ running games were effective in spots, but in the fourth quarter both would have trouble hanging on to it.
The Wildcats gave the ball up shortly after the period began on Bryan County's 37 yard line. As they did throughout the quarter, Richmond Hill's defense bailed them out. The Redskins came up inches short on a fourth down try at the 27 yard line and the Wildcats took over on downs.
Bryan County would fumble on their next possession; Richmond Hill coughed up the ball two plays later and what appeared to be Bryan County's best field position of the half was negated by a personal foul call. After Bryan County fumbled the ball for the final time Richmond Hill was able to sustain a drive that ran out the rest of the clock. Richmond Hill head coach Brian Brocato had good things to say about both squads.
"I was pretty proud of our offense and the way we drove the ball all night – obviously the field goal was big,” he said. “Our defense stepped up when they needed to, especially getting those turnovers at the end. I will tip my hat to Bryan County they played hard and are a good football team. I would be surprised if they didn't get back to the playoffs again."
Just where Brocato hopes his team is headed too.
Richmond Hill will host Tattnall County next Friday and Bryan County will be at Long County both games are a 7:30 p.m. start.