On a perfect night for high school football, the Richwoods Knights' home opener Friday night at Endres Field was eagerly anticipated as the Rock Island Rocks came to town ranked third in the latest Class 6A statewide poll. Highly touted, the Rocks lived up to expectations as they downed the Knights, 29-10.
Richwoods started out well as they took the opening kickoff 65 yards in eight plays to lead 7-0 just over three minutes into the game. The drive featured big pass completions to Kiontre O'Neal, Sean Flaherty and Steve Covington. After stopping Rock Island on their initial series, the Knights appeared ready to increase the lead before an interception by Daquon Jones had Rock Island in business at the Knights 37. Linder Divos took it in from the six and it was 7-6 Richwoods after the missed extra point.
A 42 yard scoring strike from Trey Sigel to Quinton Holmes put the visitors up 13-7 midway through the second period and this was followed by a partially blocked punt on Richwoods next possession at their 26 yard line. The Rocks were back in the end zone just two plays and 42 seconds later and went into halftime with the momentum and a 20-7 lead.
Richwoods showed signs of a comeback in the third quarter after a nice 37 yard field goal by Justin Cole. This was particularly so after they stopped Rock Island on the next possession and were driving in enemy territory. A botched snap and the resulting lost fumble, however, pretty much sealed Richwoods' fate for the evening as they could not regain any momentum. Max Berres was sacked for a safety and Divos took it in from the six once again in the final stanza to put the game away.
Richwoods thus is faced with yet another slow start to the year to try and overcome. Losses to tough opponents early have led to development and gelling by season's end in recent years. Coach Brown thus has his work cut out for him, but he has demonstrated his prowess in these situations before. The Knights face another tall task next week as they travel to face Class 7A stalwart, Moline.
In other games, Central continued their surprisingly strong start by bringing home a 34-19 win from Moline one week after upsetting Alleman. East Moline defeated Manual while Notre Dame lost at Quincy, 35-26, in what may well be considered an upset.
There were two barn burners in the Mid Illini conference as Morris used a late field goal and a 17-14 lead to put Metamora at 0-2 on the season and Pekin staged a furious fourth quarter rally, scoring 21 unanswered points, to defeat Plainfield North, 21-20.