Independence’s magical run of eight consecutive seasons playing in the state championship game is over. All streaks are made to be broken, but not like this. The Patriots were dismantled by a Richmond option[singlepic=407,320,240,,right] attack and could not overcome their own mistakes and mental lapses as they were defeated 30-22 Friday.
A banner hanging on the Raiders sideline read “Go Big..”. Like the banner read, Independence was missing from some of the game and was never able to take control. Richmond never trailed and confused the Patriots all night before a packed house.
The Patriots went for an early fourth down play from the Raiders three yard line and were stuffed, coming away with no points. After a three and out for Richmond, a punt was fumbled by Kyle Gregg and Richmond started controlling the clock and the game. PHOTO ROGER HARDING rahpix.com
“We had plenty of chances to win and when you do not capitalize you don’t deserve to win,” said Independence head coach Tom Knotts. “They had a great game plan. They have a great ball control offense and they paly with great effort on defense. They are not a great defensive team, but the effort was the difference in the game.”
After Richmond took a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter the Patriots were able to tie the score after quarterback Anthony Carrothers converted a one yard touchdown run. The Raiders added a field goal and were able to thwart a late drive in the first half that the Patriots uncharacteristacly showed poor clock management and again came away empty handed.
Richmond quarterback Tedarrius Wiley took advantage of play action passes and the option offense to connect on three touchdown passes in the second half.
The Raiders struck first in the second half, as Wiley found Lovell Joy on a 29-yard pass. The Patriots seemed to gain momentum back, and closed the gap to 17-14 after a bad snap on a punt attempt was recovered by Independence. They needed only three plays topped off by another Carrothers touchdown run, and they appeared headed for a comeback win.
Wiley and Joy connected on a 73-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and help a 30-14 lead. The Patriots scored again and were succesful on the two-point conversion, but it was too late.
The Raiders, who started the season 4-3-1, have now reeled off seven straight victories and will play Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville, who also won this evening.
Richmond was led by Wiley who completed 7-15 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns despite being picked off twice. He also carried 11 times for 28 yards. Joy recorded five catches for 159 yards and the two scores. Lebarrian Jones ran 12 times for 79 yards and Sammy Houston added seven carries for 49 yards.
The Patriots were led by star receiver Lawrence Martin who hauled in 12 catches for 161 yards and a score. The senior kept Independence in the game, but his efforts were not enough. Carrothers finished 26-38 for 320 yards and carried 10 times for 32 yards.
Jayme Watson recorded 13.5 tackles and had a sack.
The Patriots could never get over the hump, and the option offense and defensive energy of Richmond was too much to overcome in the end.
“We knew the option was coming,” Knotts said. “It was a great scheme and I am going to use some of it next year. It is a a great way to control the clock and just a great scheme.”