Class 6A Football: Richards Squeaks by Hyde Park, Advances to Second Round
Richards 28, Hyde Park 14: The Bulldogs scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns and notched a hard-fought victory in the opening round of the Class 6A football playoffs Saturday.
Breaking It Down: It wasn’t pretty, but as many of Richards’ assistant coaches said to the team after the game, a win is a win. Richards recovered from a terrible start and scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat Hyde Park 28-14 on Saturday at Eckersall Stadium in Chicago.
Hyde Park returned a fumble for a touchdown in the first quarter after sacking quarterback Tommy Mister, but that would prove to be its biggest offensive play of the day. Mister rallied to throw two first-half touchdown passes and Richards’ Marcus Smith was a big force in the running game. He carried the offensive load in the second half for the Bulldogs.
Defensively, Richards shut down Hyde Park’s ground attack and Marquist Evans couldn’t connect with his receivers through the air. The Thunderbirds only gained three first downs in the first half.
Hyde Park was hindered on offense by too many minor mistakes. The Thunderbirds were whistled for 12 penalties and many of them were for false starts and too many men on the field.
Patch’s MVP: Marcus Smith, Richards. Smith was the difference in the second half, carrying the ball 20 times after halftime. Smith had a costly fumble in the third quarter that led to Hyde Park’s game-tying score, but the Richards' workhorse had a 15-yard score on the ensuing drive to put Richards ahead for good.
Richards Stat Pack: Smith rushed for 201 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown for the Bulldogs. Mister finished 5-for-9 passing for 76 yards and had two touchdowns. R.J. Balsan and Brian Hettiger each had touchdown receptions.
Hyde Park Stat Pack: Evans was 7-for-17 passing for 105 yards with an interception. Erik Payton led the Thunderbirds in rushing with 39 yards on seven carries.
Quotable I: “A win is a win in the playoffs, and it doesn’t matter how you win,” Richards coach Tony Sheehan said. “It was ugly.”
Quotable II: “We’re just going to have to push hard at practice and do everything the right way,” said Smith when asked what Richards needs to do to get through the second round.
Team Records: Richards is now 6-4 on the year, while Hyde Park finishes the season at 7-3.
What’s Next: Richards moves on to the second round where it will play host to Hubbard. Hubbard defeated Bremen 17-7.
Scores of Interest: Evergreen Park 10, Marshall 6; Crete-Monee 63, Bloomington 14. For more scores, visit the IHSA ScoreZone.