It’s not surprising what the theme was at practice all week for Richards.
“All the coaches preached about was playing four quarters of football,” senior wide receiver Spencer Tears said. “We haven’t played four quarters of football all season. We feel we’ve got the best team in the state and we should be dominating teams.”
The Bulldogs played four quarters of football Friday, and as a result, they dominated visiting Oak Forest 39-14.
Tears scored twice on pass plays of 96 and 9 yards. Quarterback Hasan Muhammad-Rogers scored on a 47-yard run and threw for 172 yards for No. 18 Richards (5-1).
JaRon Johnson and Troy Hadagus scored the two touchdowns for Oak Forest (4-2).
The previous week against Eisenhower, the Bulldogs were their own worst enemy for the better part of three quarters, killing their own drives with penalties and making sloppy plays.
It was an entirely different story against Oak Forest.
Their first moment of truth came early, on a fourth-and-inches at the Bengals’ 47 when Muhammmad-Rogers first tried to sneak up the middle, then spun around, found the left sideline and went the distance to make it 6-0.
The next chance brought another explosion, this one by Tears, who on first down at the Richards’ 4 took a flip pass to the right from Muhammad-Rogers, broke a tackle and left two defenders in his wake as he raced 96 yards.
Oak Forest’s best drive of the half followed. It was a 61-yarder, the longest gain a nine-yard run by Brian Pearson. Johnson ran in from the 8 for the Bengals, who made the 2-point conversion.
But there was no interrupting Richards’ momentum.
The Bulldogs answered with a 20-point knockdown punch in the second quarter. Romello Boykin scored on a 33-yard pass from Muhammad-Rogers, Tears added a second TD on a 9-yard pass from Muhammad-Rogers, and Hill found the end zone on a 1-yard run. It was 32-8 at the half.
“We just came out ready to play,” Muhammad-Rogers said. “We just jumped on our opponent out of the gate. You get them down early, they’re not going to be wanting to come back.”
The Bengals appeared to want to get back at Muhammad-Rogers, however. Three times they were flagged for personal fouls on late hits, the last of which resulted in a player ejection.
“Coach (Tony) Sheehan told me when you’re out there making plays and frustrating players, they’re going to try to find a way to get you out of the game,” Muhammad-Rogers said. “If they were trying to get in my head, or they were trying to hurt me, I don’t know. Coach just told me to keep my head straight and keep pushing.”
Bengals coach Brian McDonough kept his comments conservative.
“I don’t know. I have to see it on film,” he said. “I didn’t think they were that bad, but I don’t know. We got them (flags). They’re a very good football team. Hats off to them.”