Ryan Willett made a promise to quarterback Hasan Muhammad-Rogers during the week leading up to Friday’s South Suburban Red showdown against Reavis: put the ball in my hands and I’m going to make something happen.
The Richards wide receiver lived up to his promise, catching two touchdown passes from Rogers that lifted the Bulldogs to a 32-6 win over the Rams in Burbank.
Willett’s first TD reception covered 71 yards and tied the game 6-6 late in the fourth quarter. His second score was a 35-yard strike that extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 18-6 with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
“Perfect passes,” Willett said. “Me and Hasan played catch every day over the summer. He knows where to put the ball and I know how to go get it.”
The turning point in the game arrived late in the second quarter. A 14-yard touchdown run by Pat Doyle (15 carries, 111 yards) gave Richards (6-1, 4-0) a 12-6 lead with 8:06 left in the second quarter.
Reavis (6-1, 4-1), though, responded late in the half and drove to the Bulldogs one-yard line. Quarterback Isiah Alpuche (7-of-16, 63 yards), in an attempt to reach the ball over the goal line, fumbled and Richards’ Maurice Williams-Coleman recovered with 3:01 left in the half.
“We had about one inch to score and with forward progress I thought Isiah got in,” Reavis coach Tim Zasada said. “That makes it 13-12 at halftime and it’s a different story. I thought we played with them for a half.”
The second half was all Richards.
Besides Willett’s second TD of the game, Romeo Johnson added a 4-yard score and Ramontay Hill recovered a Reavis fumble in the end zone to close out the scoring.
The Bulldogs made a concerted effort to run the ball in the second half and it proved to be a wise strategy.
Doyle picked up 86 of his 111 yards over the final 24 minutes as the offensive line of Josh Hettiger, Justin Grochowski, Joe Korpitz, Domantas Backus and Demond Wilson opened holes.
“Coach (Tony Sheehan) told us at the half that we had to get a strong running game going,” Doyle said. “We were motivated. The offensive line blocked as good as they have all year.”
The Rams couldn’t have asked for a better start to the game. An 11-play, 72-yard drive on the game’s first series resulted in a 7-yard TD run by Travis Liszewski (11 carries, 56 yards) and a 6-0 lead. The point-after kick failed.
Anthony Quinn, Kenny Spey, Tyler Demma and Hill led a strong performance by Richards’ defense.
“The defense played really well,” Sheehan said. “They have a chance to be a great defense.”