Richwoods and Central squared off Friday night at Endres Field in a game that was critical to the playoff hopes of both teams. Central came in with the conference's leading passer, receiver and overall scorer plus a high powered, no huddle offense. Richwoods used a bend but don't break mentality on defense as they held off the Lions by the score of 21-14.
While Richwoods had the lead and control of the game throughout, Central simply wouldn't go away. The Knights seemed intent on keeping the Central offense off the field by employing a ball control approach which kept time of possession in their favor. Kiontre O'Neal did not play, but this week it was Brandon Huerta filling his shoes in a big way, particularly with some key second half runs. Max Berres was in sync with his receiving corps as well throughout the evening.
Daejgon Love scored from two yards out on Richwoods' second possession on a drive that featured two fourth down conversions and three long pass completions, one of which went to Sean Flaherty and the other two to Steve Covington. Central showed a couple of sparks on offense, but was unable to move the ball in any meaningful fashion throughout the first half. After a 14 yard touchdown pass from Berres to Covington at the 5:49 mark of the second quarter, the Knights took a 14-0 lead into the locker room at the break.
The Lions made things interesting when Orlando Hernandez connected on a beautiful long bomb to Jermon Jones from 50 yards out midway through the third period to close to within 14-7. However, as is becoming the norm when Richwoods takes a punch, they struck right back. Huerta ripped off a 35 yard run on the first play of a 72 yard drive and also covered the last 14 yards into the end zone to put the hosts back up 21-7. Undaunted, Hernandez hit Ryan Tutt on a 45 yarder to the Richwoods one and then took it in himself from the two to make it 21-14 with 6:30 left in the game. The Knights were able to put it away, though, as they ate up the rest of the quarter and the game on a time consuming drive deep into Lions territory.
The Knights now travel to state ranked Rock Island Alleman next Friday at Augustana College as they try to avenge last year's loss to the Pioneers. With five wins, they are now playoff eligible, but need to win at least one of their final two games to guarantee a post season spot.
In other area games, Notre Dame rolled over East Moline, 48-7 and Alleman routed Manual 41-0. In the Mid Illini, Washington stayed on top of the conference with a big 31-14 win in their showdown at Limestone. Morton upset Metamora 22-20 thus meaning that the Panthers are suddenly all alone at the top of the league.