By Jason Maholy
Richards and Lemont have ruled their respective divisions in the South Suburban Conference for most of the past decade-plus.
With the Bulldogs in the Red, and the Indians in the Blue, the two programs don't play during the regular season every year; however, have still met each of the past eight seasons, including twice in the playoffs. Lemont is 6-2 in those games, and ended Richards' season in both postseason contests.
The 'Dogs will look to stake claim as the class of the SSC, and keep rolling on both sides of the ball when they host the Indians at 7 p.m. Friday in Oak Lawn.
Richards will enter the contest unbeaten and winning in dominant fashion. The latest victim was Argo, who the Bulldogs buried early with a 23-point first quarter en rout to a 50-0 beating. They needed only 31 offensive plays to rack up 401 yards and win their sixth consecutive game to start the season.
Six players scored touchdowns for Richards, which was paced by Leshon Williams' 131 yards and two touchdowns on just four carries. The big junior back was practically unstoppable the limited times he touched the ball.
Trishawn Lott had 9 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown, and Syntel Williams and Marquel Porter also ran for a score. The Bulldogs only completed three passes, but two were Porter touchdowns including a 45-yarder to Walter Riley.
The defense registered its third shutout, a list that includes a 14-0 win over St. Rita, and has allowed only 34 points through six games. The Bulldogs have playmakers at all three levels, and are a physical bunch that attempts to impose its will on opponents.
The Bulldogs will with a win over Lemont equal their victory totals from each of the past three seasons, and this squad – with an explosive offense loaded with playmakers and a fast, strong and dominant defense – is rekindling memories of the Richards team that advanced to the Class 6A state championship game in 2013.
A victory will also put the 'Dogs on the likely path of an undefeated regular season and one of the top seeds in the playoff bracket. They will play on the road at Reavis in Week 8 and at home against Eisenhower in the season finale.
This incarnation of the Indians (3-3) is not a vintage Lemont team. This is a program that has won double-digit games 10 times in the past 13 seasons, and before this year had lost more than two regular season games only once (2013) in the previous 14.