Richmond is now alone at the top of the North Central Conference.
The Red Devils’ next opponent is a team that knows that position well.
Richmond is on the road Friday at Kokomo. The last time the two squads met, the Red Devils snapped the Wildkats’ 39-game conference winning streak. The game started on Friday, ended on Saturday and was a big step for Richmond in gaining its 24th overall NCC championship.
Now, Richmond is the NCC team with a streak — 11 in a row, dating back to 2011.
“Kokomo is still Kokomo. They’re a class organization,” said RHS coach Matt Holeva. “The kids are going to play hard. They’re going to be well-coached.”
Richmond improved to 4-1 overall, 3-0 in the NCC with a 30-26 win over Muncie Central on a wet Friday night at Lyboult Field.
Kokomo won its latest game, too, downing New Castle 32-6. The Wildkats are 2-3, 1-1, with a conference loss to Muncie Central and win over Huntington North.
Muncie was the only other NCC team without a conference loss, until the Red Devils dropped the Bearcats to 1-1.
“You have to give credit to Richmond. They made the plays when they needed to,” said Central coach Brad Seiss. “We just couldn’t get those last few at the end of the game.”
Those plays came on both sides of the ball for the Red Devils.
Jordan Christian threw for second-half touchdowns of 31 and 55 yards to Tyler Ripperger and Matt Morrow, while the RHS defense held off Central’s last drive.
The Bearcats were inside the Red Devil 20-yard line before penalties and the typically tough RHS ‘D’ drove them back to the 33-yard line.
“We just fight for four downs,” said RHS linebacker Blair Vanlandingham, who returned an interception for a touchdown early in Friday’s game.
“It feels good. We have to keep making steps in a positive direction, not take steps backwards. If we can keep practicing hard every week, we can be a real nice team come sectionals.”
Richmond also has conference games left at Huntington North (Oct. 11) and at home with Logansport (Oct. 18).
The Red Devils play host to New Castle on Oct. 4 in a non-conference game.
“It’s a huge step for us,” Christian said of the win over Muncie Central.
” … We have to come out and be prepared (at Kokomo) for another tough battle, just like this.”
The Tri-Eastern Conference also has only one unbeaten team remaining in conference play.
That’s Northeastern, a 42-22 winner over Tri High on Friday.
Kelsy Kirkland rushed for 200 yards and two touchdowns for the Knights, with J.J. Fleming also scoring twice and rushing for 39 yards.
Joey Claypoole rushed for 116 yards and two more Northeastern scores, while passing for 53 yards. Tyler Sandlin finished with 77 yards on six carries.
Northeastern racked up 432 yards rushing and 485 total yards in the win. The Knights will play host this Friday to Centerville. The Bulldogs were handed their first TEC defeat by Union City in Week 5.
NOTES: Vanlandingham very nearly had another interception during Friday’s game with Central, diving and almost picking off Muncie QB Billy Walker in the second half for the second time. … Richmond’s running game was again active, with six different ball carriers combining for 30 carries. … Derek Williams was the leading rusher with 38 yards for the Devils, with Tyrus Bell adding 32 and Justin Holland 25. … Holland played a strong role in special teams, returning a kickoff nearly 60 yards. Trey Sanders, who returned one kickoff for a TD this year, had a return of 45 yards in the second half.