Bulldogs pitch shutout at Yorkville
These Foxes got thrown to the wolves.
Actually, it was a pack of Bulldogs Yorkville faced off with Saturday night, but the result wasn’t any less fatal to the Foxes in a football sense. Determined to prove that its Week 9 struggle to subdue District 218 sister school Eisenhower was simply a fluke, Richards unleashed a marauding band of defenders at Korhonen Field.
And just as they had done against four other opponents in the regular season, the Bulldogs refused entry into their own end zone. In fact, Yorkville ventured inside Richards’ 40-yard line just once during the evening, hardly the kind of production the Foxes needed to have a shot at upending the Bulldogs.
Instead, Richards advanced out of its first-round Class 6A playoff contest with little difficulty. Scoring twice within the first 3½ minutes and seven times before intermission, the Bulldogs forced a running clock to be used over the final two periods as they overpowered Yorkville 44-0.
The win set Richards (9-1) up for a rematch with Argo, a 14-12 victor over Oak Forest in Round 1, Saturday night in Oak Lawn. The Bulldogs blanked the Argonauts 27-0 in a regular-season road encounter, one of only two defeats suffered by the Summit-based school thus far in 2013.
“It wasn’t a complete surprise for them to pull that out,” Richards coach Tony Sheehan said of Argo’s playoff triumph over the Bengals. “Argo’s played well all year. It’s not like they snuck in and squeezed by.”
As for any advantage the Bulldogs might hold because of their earlier success, Sheehan claimed it means nothing at the moment.
“You hate playing somebody twice [in the same year],” he said. “The last time we did this was in ’07 with Oak Forest — we beat them pretty handily during the regular season and then lost to them in the playoffs.
“[Argo has] tough kids and they do a great job with the low numbers they have. This is always a war [with them]. On film, we saw some things we can do differently and do better, but to get a repeat of that [previous] performance is unlikely because you know they have too many good athletes.”
Then again, Richards has a better-than-average defense. Against Yorkville, Romel Hill (nine tackles), Andrew Venerable (five) and Savon Robinson (three tackles, three sacks) were the big guns.
Hill’s caused fumble on the opening kickoff and Robinson’s recovery of it set the hosts up for their first touchdown, which Spencer Tears scored on a 21-yard reverse. Hill and Venerable also made fumble recoveries during the contest.
“Those are three-year starters,” Sheehan said of his main defensive trio. “That’s what you expect them to do.”
Before the first stanza ran out, the Bulldogs had increased their lead to 19-0, courtesy of TDs by Romeo Johnson (62-yard dash) and Tacari Carpenter (13-yard pass from Hasan Muhammad-Rogers). Another Carpenter reception brought Richards down to the Foxes’ 1 and Johnson scored again at the beginning of the second quarter to increase his team’s edge to 25-0.
“We had a good week of practice and really came out focused,” Sheehan said. “We brought up some sophomores, and they gave us some energy and helped us out on the scout team, and a lot of the older guys told the younger ones how this was do-or-die time. We either win or go home.”
Following Johnson’s second foray into the Yorkville end zone, Muhammad-Rogers fired a pair of lengthy touchdown passes on consecutive possessions. His 45-yard collaboration with Dedrick Shannon that made it 32-0 with 6:19 left in the half was particularly impressive.
“I don’t think I’ve seen a deep ball thrown as good in 10 years,” Sheehan said. “He hit him right in stride.”
Muhammad-Rogers also hooked up with Mike Marchione on a 38-yard scoring aerial shortly before Johnson’s third TD of the game pushed the Bulldogs beyond the 40-point plateau. Johnson, who finished with 63 yards on just five carries, tallied from 3 yards away to complete the onslaught.
Freshman Pat Doyle actually paced the ground-gaining effort with 84 rushing yards on eight totes in his varsity debut. With Muhammad-Rogers passing for 167 more yards, Richards collected a total of 385, nearly five times as many as Yorkville. The Foxes managed only 81 yards while committing their three turnovers.
Even though the score wound up being lopsided, Sheehan was surprised the Bulldogs were able to strike so quickly.
“We played pretty well, but they’re a well-coached, disciplined team,” he said of Yorkville. “They’re young — they played about 19 juniors and sophomores — so they’re going to be a team to watch in the next couple of seasons.”
For Richards, however, the future is now.
“We preached in the offseason that Round 2 is not good enough,” said Sheehan, whose team has been ushered out of the playoffs at that point the past four years. “The motto is just to survive and move on.
“This is a special group of kids. They put us back on the map and we want them to get as far as they can.”
Yorkville 0 0 0 0 - 0
Richards 19 25 0 0 - 44
First downs 2 13
Yds. rushing 50 218
Yds. passing 31 167
Total yds. 81 385
Att./comp. 12-2 13-7
Fumbles/lost 4-3 0-0
Had intercepted 0 0
Penalties/yds. 5-55 6-45
Punts/yds. — 1-35.0
HLR — Spencer Tears, 21-yd. run (kick failed)
HLR — Romeo Johnson, 62-yd. run (pass failed)
HLR — Tacari Carpenter, 13-yd. pass from Hasan Muhammad-Rogers (Shawn Chiaramonte kick)
HLR — Johnson, 1-yd. run (kick failed)
HLR — Dedrick Shannon, 45-yd. pass from Muhammad-Rogers (Chiaramonte kick)
HLR — Mike Marchione, 38-yd. pass from Muhammad-Rogers (pass failed)
HLR — Johnson, 3-yd. run (kick failed)
Richards Rushing: Doyle 8-84, Johnson 5-63, Muhammad-Rogers 5-38, Tears 1-21, Carpenter 1-12, Barker 1-5, Williams 4-(-2), Willett 1-(-3). Passing: Muhammad-Rogers 12-7-167, Barker 1-0-0. Receiving: Carpenter 3-41, Shannon 1-45, Marchione 1-38, Willett 1-27, Tears 1-16.