CLEMMONS — Richmond Senior needed someone to step forward after running back Dakwa Nichols went to the sidelines with an ankle injury in the first quarter.
The Raiders didn’t get just one player to fill in for Nichols, they had a several pitch in to replace their fallen star.
Quarterback Brent Flowers rushed for a team-high 90 yards and two touchdowns, while Diquon Cox added another 68 yards on the ground and a score to pace Richmond to a 39-14 victory over West Forsyth Friday night. Cox added a 38-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Nichols was held to 10 yards on four carries before exiting the contest after being tackled on a run deep in Richmond territory. Nichols said the West Forsyth player rolled up on his ankle during the hit and his status for the team’s Southeastern Conference opener against Hoke County on Sept. 28 in unknown at this time.
Nichols wasn’t the only Richmond starter to be forced out of the game with an injury. Cornerback Thomas Calhoun was also sidelined and a handful of other regulars were banged up as well, including Jalen Joy and Flowers.
Because of the nature of the contest, Richmond coach Paul Hoggard said he is happy to have an open date next week before facing the undefeated Bucks.
“It couldn’t come fast enough because we are banged up,” Hoggard said. “We played a pretty good and physical West Forsyth team. To score 39 points and not have a very good game is a pretty good deal. We’re not doing some things very good right now fundamentally. We need to get better at those things.”
West Forsyth (3-2) kept the contest close in the third quarter with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Andy Weeks to Alex Barrow to trim the deficit to 26-14. The score was set up by a 31-yard scamper by Kealand Dirks, who finished the game with 154 yards in 17 attempts. Dirks had a 39-yard touchdown late in the second quarter.
“I am disappointed because we missed some tackles tonight,” Richmond defensive coordinator James Johnson said. “When they scored the first touchdown it was right at the end of the defense being out there something like 18 of 20 plays after we scored on the punt and recovered a fumble deep in their end. That’s not an excuse because even though they were gassed, we have to finish tackles and not get blocked like that on the edge.”
For the first time this season, the Raiders (5-0) were held under 500 yards of total offense and rushed for less then 300 in a contest. Richmond finished with 235 running yards and added another 171 in the air. Flowers was 8 of 17 for 149 passing yards, while Antonio Edens was 2-for-3 with 22 yards.
One of the things which Hoggard said hurt his team in finding a rhythm offensively was penalties. The Raiders had a handful of long runs negated because of infractions.
“Those put us behind the chains,” Hoggard said. “I really don’t have a good call for a third-and-21 play.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org