Unbeaten Rich East cruises to win over Rich Central

SHARE Unbeaten Rich East cruises to win over Rich Central

It has been said it’s better to be lucky than good.

Rich East was both during a 34-29 Southland victory over Rich Central Friday in Olympia Fields. The win gives Rich East its first 5-0 start since 1997 in its Southland opener. Rich Central dropped to 3-2, 1-1.

“We beat a good Rich Central team, and we knew it was going to be a knock down, drag out kind of game,” Rich East coach Barry Reade said. “Our guys rose to the occasion and played well. It was a great football game.”

“Props to Rich East because they came in here and did what they needed to do,” Rich Central coach Terrell Alexander said. “They were tough, low to the ground and did things right.”

Rich East’s toughness translated into 343 rush yards.

“I give all the credit to the O-line,” Rich East senior running back Brian Stewart said. “They did a lot of work tonight.”

Stewart’s 105 yards on 24 carries was part of a lethal, three-pronged running attack. Marcel McDonald led the Rockets with 112 yards on 23 carries and a pair of touchdowns. Kendall Miller rushed 16 times for 74 yards and a score.

“Being 5-0 for the first time in long time feels pretty good,” said Stewart, whose interception set up the first touchdown of the game.

Luck came at the end of the first half.

On the last offensive play of the half, Rich East quarterback Latrell Burden threw a pass to the end zone that was tipped. Kendall Merritt came down with it for a 10-yard touchdown and a 20-14 lead at the half.

“That was huge for us, and we knew coming in it was going to be that kind of game,” Reade said. “We had to do what we do best and hoped things went our way, and they did.”

“It’s a game of inches,” Alexander said. “When you work real hard, those things tend to happen for you.”

McDonald’s 1-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter gave Rich East a 26-14 lead. Rich Central stormed back to take the lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by Dejaris Taylor. Jordan Fuqua’s two-point run gave the Olympians a 29-26 lead with 23 seconds left in the third.

Rich East’s game winning drive took 12 plays and nearly seven minutes. Miller’s 5-yard touchdown run and McDonald’s two-point catch ended the scoring.

Rich Central quarterback DaQuan Richie threw for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

It was the 10th win in the last 12 meetings for the Olympians.

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