Tommy Mister provided plenty of highlight moments in Richards’ 36-14 win over visiting Lincoln-Way North in Friday’s Class 6A playoff opener.
But his favorite moment wasn’t one of his three touchdown runs of 15, 1 and 40 yards.
Instead, it was an 87-yard pass play engineered by quarterback Hasan Muhammad-Rogers and wide receiver Tacari Carpenter.
“Tacari, man, he can make a play whenever,” Mister beamed. “But I haven’t seen anything like that all year. He (Rogers) threw a 10-yard out and Tacaro goes 80 yards right before halftime.
“It’s that fast, man. He’s one of the best players in the state and he’s going to get recognized for it later on in the season.”
Mister was still the No. 1 power source for the Bulldogs (9-1), rushing 20 times for 195 yards. Rogers, meanwhile, was 7-for-18 for 135 yards.
Defensively, the Bulldogs all but shut down Lincoln-Way North’s power running duo of Julian Hylton and Tre Lewis, holding them to just 20 yards each in the defining first half. Defensive back Dylan Jiles had three interceptions.
In all, it was a pretty impressive playoff opener for the Bulldogs, who are to meet the winner of Lemont and Morgan Park.
Lincoln-Way North’s season ended at 6-4.
If not putting the game away, Richards grabbed a firm hold on it by scoring three times in the first half on a 28-yard field goal by Shawn Chiaramonte, a 15-yard run by Mister and the 87-yard pass play, Rogers to Carpenter.
The pass play, with 1:37 left on the clock, was a backbreaker, coming after Lincoln-Way North had taken timeouts to try to get the ball back.
“We’re trying to get a little bit more balance,” Richards coach Tony Sheehan said. “Once we put Rogers in at quarterback, he can really throw it. Carpenter is a weapon. We’ve got to get the ball in his hands, and he does special things that we haven’t had around here.”
Jiles’ second interception of the night gave Richards good field position early in the third period, and the Bulldogs marched 42 yards in eight plays, the last a 1-yard tote by Mister. North found more grief on its next possession, a bad snap over the punter’s head that was recovered for a touchdown in the end zone by Bulldog Deion Carter.
The Phoenix finally got on the board with 2:30 left in the third period on a 37-yard pass from Ryan Arthur to Tyler Gaynor, but less than two minutes later Mister responded for Richards with a 40-yard TD run.
Hylton scored North’s other touchdown on a 2-yard run.