With playoffs at stake, early deficit too much for Raiders

By Kenneth Schott

LYNNVILLE— A slow start doomed Richland in its last game of the season Friday.

The Raiders got behind three touchdowns to visiting Huntland before halftime and could never overcome the deficit, falling 32-20 to its Region 5-1A rival. 

Huntland’s strong rushing attack made the early scores look easy. Huntland had 339 rushing yards in the game and Richland’s defense couldn’t stop them until after the Hornets had built the big lead.

“That’s kind of been the story with us,” said Raiders coach Nick Patterson. “Unfortunately, for whatever the reason, we’ve waited on teams before we started playing. We’ve gotten ourselves in some holes, and tonight, it was too big to overcome.”

The Hornets took the opening kickoff and only needed three plays and 1:18 to go 67 yards. Sophomore Bryson Johnson did most of the work, scoring on a 40-yard run.

Johnson made a key defensive play on Richland’s first offensive possession, intercepting quarterback Sam Edwards’ first pass attempt at midfield, and the visitors again scored quickly on a 3-yard Kolbi Stewart for a 14-0 lead.

Stewart (170) and Johnson (136) each had more than 100 rushing yards for Huntland (6-4, 3-2), with senior quarterback Payton Reed completing six of eight passes for 70 yards.

Huntland scored on the  first play of the second quarter, a 16-yard touchdown run by Stewart, and it was 20-0 after the extra point attempt failed.

From there, the hosts’ offense came alive and started putting scoring drives together. The quarterback draw became Richland’s best weapon, as Edwards gained 173 yards on 19 carries in the game despite the Raiders’ ineffective first quarter. Senior running back Austin Seals contributed with 60 yards on 12 carries.

Richland (3-7, 1-4) also got a short passing game going to keep Huntland’s defense honest. After missing on his first five pass attempts, Edwards completed 4-of-10 passes for 20 yards.

“Sam and Austin did great jobs,” said Patterson. “We tried to go up-tempo some and I thought our rhythm messed them up.”

But the Raiders couldn’t get closer than two scores down the rest of the game.

With the outcome, Huntland secured the No. 3 seed from the region for the Class 1A state playoffs. Richland, which would have been the fourth seed with a victory, ends its season.

Huntland 32, Richland 20
at Wayne Hobbs Stadium

H   14  12  6 0 – 32
R    0   7  6  7 – 20

H – Bryson Johnson 40 run (10:42), Pedro Garcia kick
H – Kolbi Stewart 3 run (5:47), Garcia kick
H – Stewart 16 run (11:52), kick failed
R – Ethan Ehrhardt 9 pass from Sam Edwards (3:03), Colton Trimble kick
H – Micah Millraney 23 pass from Payton Reed (0:20), kick blocked
R – Austin Seals 2 run (10:27), kick failed
H – Stewart 3 run (4:10), pass failed
R – Edwards 20 run (3:33), Trimble kick 
First Downs2514
Passing Yards7056
Huntland – Kolbi Stewart 29-170, Bryson Johnson 17-136, Micah Millraney 8-42, Jayden Norwood 1-2, Payton Reed 2-(-11)
Richland  – Sam Edwards 19-173, Austin Seals 12-60
Huntland – Payton Reed 6-8-0-70
Richland – Austin Seals 1-1-0 36, Sam Edwards 4-10-1 20
Huntland – Micah Millraney 2-37, Kolbi Stewart 2-24, Jonathan Denton 1-7, Bryson Johnson 1-2
Richland  – Ethan Ehrhardt 2-42, Stacey Cross 2-9, Austin Seals 1-5

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