ROCKINGHAM — Anson coach Luke Hyatt has been impressed with what he has seen of the Richmond Senior offense on film.
Hyatt went so far as to call it “one of the best I’ve seen them have in a while.”
Even after being held to a season-low in points and rushing yards in last week’s loss to Butler, Richmond is still averaging video game-like numbers. The Raiders are averaging 47.2 points a game and rushing for just over 400 yards a contest.
“They are so in control with whatever they call,” Hyatt said. “Even after losing all the linemen they did last year, they are still so good.”
For the Bearcats to pull off their second straight upset against a 4A team, Hyatt understands his defense will have to keep Richmond’s playmakers — Brent Flowers, Diquon Cox, Miles Grant and Raheem Bowden — in check.
“It seems like they can score anytime they touch the ball,” Hyatt said. “We have to bend and don’t break. Probably the best defense against them is going to be ball control and keeping them off the field as much as possible.”
In order for Anson to follow Hyatt’s blueprint, its own playmakers will have to step up. In last week’s 35-25 win over Purnell Swett, wide receiver/running back Allen Campbell led the way, scoring four touchdowns — two rushing and two receiving. Campbell isn’t the only outside threat for quarterback J’Maine Harris, Will Smith has 11 catches for two scores.
Despite being limited against the Rams with an injury, Jekev Robinson leads the Bearcats’ ground attack with 360 yards and seven touchdowns.
“We have to be aware where No. 8 (Campbell) lines up,” Richmond defensive coordinator Mark Arthur said. “He will line up in different spots, sometimes as a wideout, other times at running back. It seems like they want to get him the ball as much as possible.”
After surrendering a season-high 626 yards to Butler, Arthur is anxious to have his unit return to action tonight. Arthur will have starting linebackers Gus Chambers and John Taylor back in the lineup. Without Chambers and Taylor, Arthur made some adjustments to his normal defensive philosophy.
“We would have liked to keep our tradition 4-3 look, but we tried to match them personal-wise because I thought it gave us the best chance to win,” Arthur said. “I’m looking forward to playing this game to see how the kids react after the loss.”
The same could be said for Richmond’s offense after Butler’s defense limited it to 12 second-half points.
One week after posting 523 total yards — 288 rushing and 235 passing — and accounting for eight touchdowns against Jack Britt, Flowers was held in check by Butler. Flowers was limited to 22 yards on the ground, 21 of that on a scoring run. He was 8 of 22 passing for 103 yards.
Cox was also stymied by the Bulldogs as well, rushing for 59 yards on 12 carries. Grant was the only one to find any running room last week. The junior had a season-high 151 yards and four touchdowns.
Hoggard believes Anson will look to build on last week’s victory over Purnell Swett and snap its 18-game losing streak to Richmond. In the last seven meetings, the Raiders have outscored the Bearcats 248-84, but there have been a handful of close calls. Three years ago, Richmond scored a late touchdown to seal a 14-2 victory. The Raiders stopped the Bearcats 21-14 on their way to the state championship in 2008. Two years before that Richmond escaped with a 12-7 win.
“They have to be feeling good where they are right now after the big win over Swett,” Hoggard said. “They have decent size on defense, around 200 to 240 pounds on the line. They’re playing a bunch of kids on defense and it appears they have some pretty good depth.”
Linebacker J’Quan Wall leads the Bearcats with 32 tackles, defensive back Lamonte Snuggs is second with 27, followed by defensive lineman Devonta Teal is right behind with 26. Teal also has a team-high four sacks, while Snuggs has three picks on the season.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.