Jeff Richards had never kicked in a football game before Friday night, but he played a major role in St. Mark’s season-opening, 28-0 victory over William Penn.
The 6-foot, 205-pound senior easily converted all four of his extra-point attempts and boomed all five kickoffs. Two went through the end zone for touchbacks, and the other three had plenty of height and were fielded by William Penn returners inside the 5-yard line. The Colonials’ average starting field position after Richards’ kickoffs was the 20-yard line.
“I had buddies who have done it in the past, and they said it’s a lot of fun,” said Richards, who had exclusively played soccer for the Spartans in the past. “I had never played football, so I figured I would try it.”
Richards still plays soccer. But now he makes time for football, too.
“I just come down and kick some field goals after soccer practice,” Richards said. “Coach [Matt] Backer shows me what to do. I didn’t know anything about it. Coach Backer did a great job of showing me how to do it.”
St. Mark’s head coach John Wilson quickly recognized Richards’ impact.
“He can be a weapon,” Wilson said. “He really helped us. We’ve had several soccer players come and kick for us. Those guys kind of pass the torch from one guy to the next.”
Wilson showed his confidence in Richards by sending him out for a 45-yard field-goal attempt early in the second quarter, with the Spartans only leading 7-0. The kick came up just short, after a high snap appeared to disrupt the timing of the play.
“That might have been a little far for him, but maybe not,” Wilson said. “He didn’t miss it by a lot. And in high school football the ball goes back to the 20 if you miss a field goal, so you’re not giving up a lot of field position.”
On the radio
At least two Delaware radio stations will be broadcasting high school football games on Friday nights this fall. WWTX-AM (1290) will focus on games in New Castle County, while WXDE-FM (105.9) will highlight games in Kent and Sussex counties.
WWTX will broadcast Middletown at Caesar Rodney on Friday, Sussex Central at St. Mark’s on Sept. 20, A.I. du Pont at St. Elizabeth on Sept. 27, Archmere at Caravel on Oct. 4, St. Georges at Howard on Oct. 11, Glasgow at Caravel on Oct. 18, Hodgson at Newark on Oct. 25, Newark at Middletown on Nov. 1 and Middletown at Salesianum on Nov. 15. The station also will broadcast two state playoff games and the Division I championship game on Nov. 29.
WXDE will broadcast Smyrna at Indian River on Friday, followed by Seaford at Polytech on Sept. 20, Sussex Tech at Sussex Central on Sept. 27, Laurel at Woodbridge on Oct. 4, Dover at Cape Henlopen on Oct. 11, Sussex Tech at Caesar Rodney on Oct. 18, Delmar at Laurel on Oct. 25, Sussex Central at Cape Henlopen on Nov. 1 and Lake Forest at Milford on Nov. 8.
Rounding it up
* The Comcast Network will broadcast Caravel’s football game at Episcopal Academy (Pa.) live at 7 p.m. Friday.
* Upstate teams edged downstate teams 3-2 in the inaugural Upstate-Downstate Challenge Cup boys soccer games on Saturday at Dover High. Dickinson topped Lake Forest 3-2, Middletown blanked Smyrna 5-0, Cape Henlopen slipped past Tower Hill 2-1 and Dover shut out A.I. du Pont 6-0. The top game featured Salesianum, ranked No. 1 in Division I, against Indian River, ranked first in Division II. The Sals won 1-0 in overtime, as Liam Hill scored in the 86th minute.
* Archmere is searching for a varsity boys basketball coach. Email athletic director David Oswinkle at email@example.com or call 798-6632 ext. 798.