ROCKINGHAM — If Richmond Senior hadn’t seen enough of a strong rushing attack from its opponents the last four weeks, it will get to see even more.
Fuquay-Varina will bring a Wing-T triple-option offense which scored 42 points last week into Raider Stadium for tonight’s 4AA Mideast pod second round contest. This marks the first time the Raiders and the Bengals have squared off on the gridiron.
“Their quarterback (Tyler Williams) is a good athlete, very similar to the Pinecrest kid (Dwayne Simpson),” Richmond defensive coordinator James Johnson said. “He’s not a bruiser, but he has more speed. Offensively, they are a mix of Lumberton and Anson, it’s an interesting offense to prepare for.”
Williams is the Bengals’ leading rusher, running for nearly 1,200 yards this season. In addition, Williams has thrown for nearly 900 yards. Wingback Quincy Mangum is second on the team with around 700 yards on the ground and has a team-high 19 receptions.
“We are pretty young and inexperienced,” Fuquay Varina coach Ryan Habich said. “We graduated 32 seniors off of last season’s team which won the conference championship and won 10 regular season games.”
Fuquay-Varina (7-4) hasn’t been hurt too much by those departures on offense, averaging 25.7 points a game. However on defense, the Bengals are showing the effects — allowing 27.5 points a contest. That is more than a touchdown higher from last year and 12 points more than in 2010.
“We have had to replace nine starters from last year’s defense,” Habich said. “We have a true freshman playing middle linebacker. The lack of experience has been our Achilles’ Heel. We usually have been pretty strong the last four years defensively.”
Habich added this is not a good combination heading into a showdown with Richmond. The Raiders are ninth in the state amongst 4A schools in scoring offense, averaging 42.2 points.
“They are stronger, faster and bigger than us,” Habich said. “Their offense is exceptional. We need to pick up first downs, move the chains on third and fourth downs to keep them off the field. We’re not as talented as they are on defense, but we will play to win.”
The Raiders (10-1) found an offensive rhythm they have lacked the last three contests as it rushed for 413 yards on 50 attempts against Cary in an opening round win. This marked the first time Richmond surpassed the 400-yard mark on the ground since running for 471 against South View in Week 4.
“The biggest thing was we didn’t have any unforced errors,” Richmond coach Paul Hoggard said. “That hurt us in the previous games. And we weren’t behind the sticks.
“We weren’t in a lot of long yardage situations, but when we were we made plays. We were able to run our offense like we want to.”
Hoggard added this meant making calculated gambles in the passing game as opposed to being forced to put it in the air because of down and distance. He felt this aided quarterback Brent Flowers, who had thrown an interception in each of the five Southeastern games going into the postseason.
Flowers was 6 of 9 for 92 yards, he hooked up with Kole Stanley on a 59-yard bomb for a score and found Trent Bostick for a 5-yard touchdown.
The junior signalcaller wasn’t the only offensive bright spot for Richmond as running back Dakwa Nichols showed flashes of returning to form following his foot injury. Nichols ran for 136 yards and a touchdown. The first time Nichols touched the ball in the contest, he went 54 yards nearly untouched into the end zone.
“I think he’s getting there,” Hoggard said about Nichols. “He didn’t play a lot, I think he only had seven carries. We shut him down pretty early because we were in good shape because we have good depth at running back.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.