MOORESVILLE — This was about as perfect as a team can play.
Richmond Senior committed one turnover, faced four third downs on the night and converted its lone fourth down in claiming a 55-27 victory over Lake Norman in the first round of the state 4AA playoffs Friday night.
Diquon Cox rushed for 211 yards and three touchdowns. Shavar Little added another 121 rushing yards and two scores in the win for the Raiders and Mike Rush tacked on a 92-yard touchdown run on a reverse.
Freshman Luke Hoggard made his first varsity start of his career, going 3 of 4 for 61 yards and a touchdown in the air.
Richmond finished the contest with 548 yards of total offense against Lake Norman.
“I thought we executed pretty well,” Richmond coach Paul Hoggard said. “They ran the gamut against us defensively. Luke was able to read and handled it pretty well. As the week went on, we felt Luke would be able to handle it. Tyler (Calhoun) is the better athlete, but we thought Luke would manage the game better.”
Richmond was able to contain Lake Norman quarterback Josh Ladowski. The junior still was able to post 198 yards rushing and 208 yards passing against the Raider defense. Ladowski accounted for three of the Wildcat touchdowns, two rushing and one passing.
“We played like we knew how to,” Richmond linebacker John Taylor said. “We got tired of being laughed out.”
Hoggard was impressed with the way his defense was able to corral Ladowski.
“He’s a great player,” Paul Hoggard said. “You aren’t going to be able to stop a player like that, you just have to contain him.”
From the opening kickoff it appeared as if the matchup was going to be a shootout. Lake Norman and Richmond exchanged touchdowns on their initial drives.
The Wildcats appeared set to add another on their second possession as Ladowski found Baker White in the middle of the field for a 30-yard gain. On the tackle, White fumbled and Richmond’s Travon Davenport scooped up the loose ball. Six plays later, Quientel Goodwin dove in from the 1 to give the Raiders the lead.
Lake Norman responded with a 18-play, 91-yard drive to tie the game capped by Ladowski’s 4-yard run. On the next possession, the Wildcats recovered a botched pitch in the end zone to take the lead 20-14, but from there it was all Raiders.
Richmond scored touchdowns on its next six possessions to set up a second-round clash with Northwest Guilford in Greensboro. The Vikings advanced by downing Page 45-15.
In other playoff action involving Southeastern Conference teams, Scotland rolled past Heritage 56-21 and Pinecrest edged Laney 13-7.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.