Photo by Jeff Vorva
Richards coach Tony Sheehan gives an encouraging talk at halftime to quarterback Jake Moran. Richards trailed 14-0 at halftime and went on to stun No. 4 Lemont 28-24.
Richards junior quarterback Jake Moran engineered an offense that produced no points and seven yards in the first half of Friday night’s game at Lemont.
He even threw an interception to give the Indians, ranked fourth in the state by the Associated Press, the ball at the Bulldogs 1-yard line and Lemont came up with an easy score and led 14-0 at the break.
“I had a horrible first half and I could not complete a pass,” Moran said.
Time for a quarterback change?
Time for a talk.
Bulldogs coach Tony Sheehan had what could have been the most important two-minute talk of the season with a player so far when he took Moran aside before the start of the third quarter. The result was that the Bulldogs avoided an 0-3 start by stunning the Indians, 28-24. Moran threw three TD passes in the second half and junior running back Anthony Quinn bulled into the end zone with 58 seconds left for what turned out to be the winning score.
Earlier, the coach was face-to-face with Moran during the halftime chat and tapped the side of the player’s helmet when the skull session was over.
“I told him ‘look, I have faith in you – go out and do the job,’ ’’ Sheehan said. “I told him I knew he could do it. I told him to be calm. Stay calm. I told him to make his reads and we’re going to make plays.’’
“He told me I needed to compose myself,” Moran said. “My offensive line was giving me plenty of time to throw the ball. He told me I had to get it together and in the second half we figured it out.’’
Moran called the Lemont battle a “must win” and the team’s next battle is Friday against unbeaten Reavis in Oak Lawn in the South Suburban Red Conference opener. The Rams beat South Bend (Adams) out of Indiana, 33-27, Chicago Washington, 49-12, and Evergreen Park, 48-21.
“We have to put a full game together because we have a tough one against Reavis,’’ Sheehan said. “We have to put a full 48 minutes together.’’
The Bulldogs, who two years ago finished second in the state in Class 6A, dug themselves a hole when they blew a 23-2 halftime lead against Lincoln-Way North and lost 30-29 in Frankfort. They followed that up with a 35-20 home setback to Geneva and getting down 14-0 at Lemont was not a recipe for a win.
Moran hit Jared Moore with a 27-yard touchdown pass, Nate Gimza with a 76-yard scoring strike and a 77-yard score to William Bridgewater to help the team get back into the game.
In the closing minutes, the Bulldogs were on the Lemont 2-yard line.
In Week 1, Moran and his offense were in a similar situation as the team opted for a 2-point conversion against Lincoln-Way North and was Moran was stopped short.
This time the ball went into the hands of what some people on the Richards sidelines are calling the “Mighty Quinn.’’
“It was definitely a similar feeling,” Moran said. “After that first game, our O line wanted to run a dive play. We knew we had to get the ball to Quinn. He’s the hardest worker on this team and we knew he would come through for us.’’
“I was thinking ‘I gotta score,’ ’’ Quinn said. “I had to find the gap and go.’’