First-place Bloom defeats Rich Central after slow start

SHARE First-place Bloom defeats Rich Central after slow start

Rich Central came out on Friday ready to move into a first place tie with Bloom Township in the Southland Conference. The Olympians scored twice in the first 4 minutes on their opening possessions.

All that did was wake up a sleeping giant.

The Blazing Trojans scored the next 35 points on their way to a 35-28 win in Olympia Fields. The Trojans (6-1, 3-0) maintain first place in the conference ahead of Crete-Monee, who they upset last week, and the Olympians.

“We never gave up on each other and we knew we would come back and make our plays,” Bloom coach Tony Palombi said. “We kept our focus today and they are on a mission.”

Trojans running back Emmanual Williams scored the first three touchdowns on runs of 60, nine, and nine yards. He added his fourth from 29 yards out with 2:19 left in the third to give his team a 35-14 lead. The 5-5 senior finished with 193 yards on 24 carries.

The play that turned the game around came early in the third when Kyle Pugh recovered a fumble at the Olympians’ 7-yard line. After an offside penalty and a 3-yard run by Williams, quarterback Jordan Benavides punched it in from 9-yards out for a 28-14 lead with 5:30 left in the third.

“We are one and we protect each other,” Williams said. “My line blocked beautifully tonight. We have one things on our mind — one game at a time.”

Keenan Washington added a fumble recovery for the Trojans, Reason Reese and Cedric Johnson each had an interception. Washington, Pugh and Tajal Williams each had a sack.

Olympians quarterback DeQuan Richie (20 for 41, 347 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT) got his team off to the 14-0 lead on a pair of touchdown passes. The first went to Jordan Fuqua (3 TDs) from 17 yards out. The next came a minute later to Deshon Kelly from 29 yards away.

Fuqua pulled the Olympians within 35-28 on a 2-yard TD run with 7:07 left in the fourth and a 5-yard TD catch with 34 seconds remaining. An onside kick was recovered by the Olympians on the ensuing kickoff but on the first play Richie threw and interception to Johnson to end the comeback bid.

“There is a lot of football left to play for us,” Rich Central coach Terrell Alexander said. “Our kids played their hearts out to the end and I respect my kids and I love them to death.”

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