What a difference a half made for Richmond Senior in its game against Lee County.
The Yellow Jackets seemed to have all the momentum going into the locker room having knotted the game at 21-all just moments before halftime on Chase Arrington’s third touchdown pass of the contest.
It was the last time the home team would venture into the end zone until midway through the fourth quarter.
After being on its heels in the opening 24 minutes, the Richmond defense answered the challenge in the second half.
In its six first-half possesions, Lee County drove into Richmond territory on three occassions, picked up a fumble on the Raider 37 on another, recovered an onsides kick at the Richmond 33, and was poised to pass midfield before an interception stymied a drive on their own 48.
In the third and fourth quarters, the Yellow Jackets got over the 50-yard line on two of six possessions, one of which was a recovered pooch kick at the Richmond 30 in the waning moments. After racking up 200 yards on offense in the first half, the Richmond defense stiffened and limited Lee County to 96 yards. The Yellow Jackets picked up 78 of those yards on its second-to-last drive against the Raiders’ second-string unit.
After the game, Richmond defensive coordinator James Johnson talked about his team needing to play a full contest especially with the Southeastern Conference opener with Hoke County looming in four weeks.
Unlike the week before when Sun Valley’s Albert Funderburk gashed the run defense for 200-plus yards in the season opener, Lee County went to the air to move the ball. Arrington was 11-for-17 for 160 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception in the first half. For the game, Arrington passed for 191 yards and four scores. Arrington’s main target was T.J. Lett. The senior wideout had eight receptions for 107 yards and two touchdowns.
Once the defense made adjustments in the second half, Arrington and the Yellow Jackets appeared to be running in place. Lee County had three three-and-outs and managed to pick up one first down in another four-play possession.
On the other side of the ball, Lee County was able to disrupt the Richmond rushing attack and handcuff running backs Dakwa Nichols and Elijah Goodwin. Nichols finished with 58 yards while Goodwin added 13 in the game. Against Sun Valley, the pair each rushed for 114 yards.
Quarterback Brent Flowers picked up the slack and finished with 344 yards of total offense, 123 on the ground. Flowers connected with Trent Bostick for two touchdowns and found Kole Stanley for another in the win. Stanley nearly had another score, but was pulled down at the Lee County 21.
Two games into the season and the Richmond offense appears to be one of the best in the region, if not the state. Even when the defense struggles to find its footing, the offense is capable of putting points on the board and winning a shootout. But that is the last thing Richmond coach Paul Hoggard would want when the playoffs roll around, playing Madden ‘13 style of football.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org