Not a bad night for the Red Devils.
Richmond remained unbeaten at home, won a fifth straight game and found a way to at least clinch a share of the North Central Conference title — despite playing a non-conference opponent.
The Red Devils rolled to a 49-3 homecoming victory over New Castle on Friday at Lyboult Field. RHS is now 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the NCC, and, by virtue of Muncie Central’s 34-33 victory over Huntington North, the Red Devils can do no worse than tie for first place.
They did a lot of things right Friday night.
Jordan Christian threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, Brendan Hegg and Justin Holland each topped 100 yards at their respective positions and Dakota Pennington booted a pair of field goals.
“I thought it was a good win. I thought we played hard all throughout,” said RHS coach Matt Holeva.
For the second straight week, it was a second-quarter swing for the Devils.
New Castle’s Ryan Jones made it a 3-0 game with 9:48 left in the first quarter with a 29-yard field goal. Pennington answered near the end of the quarter with a 26-yard field goal of his own.
The rest of the game belonged to RHS — but especially the second quarter.
Richmond scored 24 points then, started by Christian’s 2-yard scoring run.
Hegg hauled in a 35-yard score immediately after Richmond’s Blake Mullins recovered the kickoff, and Pennington soon kicked a 31-yard field goal.
Matt Morrow closed the first-half scoring by snagging a one-handed catch, then taking it 22 yards to the end zone for the 27-3 lead.
Richmond also scored 30 second-quarter points in last week’s road win at Kokomo.
“It was great, especially being at home, being at homecoming,” said Hegg, who caught five passes for 136 yards.
” … It makes us want to play harder when you see a big crowd like this. It’s motivation. Everybody is coming out to watch you. You have to put on a show.”
Richmond continued to showcase its team in the second half.
Morrow scored the second of his three touchdowns when Christian found him for a 16-yard TD early in the third quarter — and Morrow then connected with Auntonio Brown for a 2-point conversion.
Holland found the end zone on a 2-yard run about 3 minutes later.
Then came Morrow’s final touchdown. The senior barreled his way through defender after defender, bouncing off a host of green and white jerseys on his way to completing a hard-fought, 9-yard touchdown run to make the final score with 2:28 left in the third quarter.
“We talk about it. Where we’re trying to go as a program is that winning is just not enough anymore. We have to play well,” Holeva said. “I think the kids are buying into that. On games like tonight, it kind of shows a little bit. They understand that regardless of who we line up against, there are certain expectations to play a certain way. For the most part I think we’re living up to them.”
Holland finished with 116 rushing yards, while Christian threw for 259 yards.
Richmond’s defense didn’t have the night off, either.
The Red Devils held New Castle to negative yardage heading into the fourth quarter. The Trojans (0-7) finished with 18 yards.
“We just went out here and played hard,” said RHS senior Anthony Officer, a defensive lineman who had the Red Devils’ first sack of the night and spent much of his night harassing the New Castle backfield.
“(We wanted) to stop them. Don’t let them get a touchdown. Don’t let them get that many yards.”
Richmond travels next Friday to Huntington North. The Vikings are now 3-4 overall and 3-2 in the NCC after Friday’s loss to Muncie Central.
The Red Devils also have one more home game remaining on the regular-season schedule as they play host Oct. 18 to NCC foe Logansport.
“I thought it was just a good, solid effort all throughout,” Holeva said. “It was a workmanlike effort, and one that I was proud of. We had some different kids able to touch the ball and have a little bit of success with it.”