Lower Richland Ends Redhawks’ Playoff Hopes

Westwood’s Christian Brown (26) fights through the Lower Richland defense.

No question, this game was going to be a close one. Coming into this game, both Westwood High School and Lower Richland had virtually identical statistics and both teams had almost identical records against common opponents. And close it was. Westwood was on the outside of the playoffs looking in, and a victory against the Diamond Hornets of Lower Richland was their last chance. Sadly, in the waning minutes, the Hornets clinched it with a touchdown that gave them the 14-9 victory and spoiled Westwood’s playoff hopes.

Some football games are pretty to watch, and some just plain ugly. This game was clearly in the latter category, as many mistakes were made by both teams. Westwood received the opening kickoff, and within a few plays, fumbled the ball over to Lower Richland. Despite a costly penalty against Lower Richland, they found themselves on the Westwood 20-yard line.

Although within easy field goal range, the Hornets decided to go for a fourth-down conversion at the end of their first possession. Quarterback Heath Gilmore hung on to the ball and sprinted across the goal line for a touchdown with 10:25 to go in the first quarter. With the 2-point conversion run, Lower Richland was up early, 8-0.

Raymond Hall received the Hornet’s kickoff and brought the ball to Westwood’s 45-yard line. Three plays and one penalty later, Westwood found itself in a fourth-and-5 situation. They went for the conversion, but were unsuccessful. Lower Richland took over the ball on downs on their own 38-yard line with 7 minutes to go in the quarter.

Ugly play continued as Gilmore was hit hard on a quarterback keeper, causing him to fumble. Westwood recovered the ball. Westwood could do little in the way of offense, and a Davis King pass was intercepted by Lawrence Tucker, giving Lower Richland a first-and-10 on the Westwood 45-yard line with 3:19 to go in the quarter. The teams traded interceptions when Vyncint Smith intercepted a Hornets pass on Westwood’s own 7-yard line. The Redhawks possession ended with a very short punt that went out of bounds on their own 35-yard line, handing over good field position to Lower Richland. Lower Richland couldn’t capitalize, however, and had to punt. The quarter ended with the ball in the hands of Westwood on their own 13-yard line.

A promising Hornet drive in the second quarter was cut short deep in Westwood territory by a fumble by C.J. Davis. Westwood recovered on their 15-yard line. Unfortunately, the Redhawks couldn’t make anything happen with their good fortune and had to punt with 3:32 to go in the half.

Lower Richland couldn’t do any better, going three and out. Westwood took over on their 33 with 1:55 to go in the half. Then Westwood went for the fancy stuff. King pitched the ball to Diamond Williams, who passed the ball deep, into the waiting arms of Vyncint Smith for the touchdown. A potentially game-tying 2-point conversion was unsuccessful, and the halftime clock ran out with the score 8-6, Lower Richland.

“A while ago I was happy to go out 8-0, but we saw we had an opportunity with some time outs and some tricks up our sleeve,” Westwood head coach Rodney Summers said at the half. “Our defense is playing well but our offense isn’t running like I want it too.”

The third quarter began with the Westwood defense again proving they could do it when they want to. A determined drive by Lower Richland ended on the Westwood 10-yard line when Gilmore was sacked for a loss, and shortly thereafter a pass into the end zone by Marcus Edmond was intercepted by Whitney McLeod.

Westwood marched steadily down field, converting three first downs in a row. They were finally stopped, but not before reaching field goal range. The field goal unit took the field and Brandon Howard put the ball through the uprights for the 3 points at 4:01 to go in the third quarter. Westwood now led the game, 9-8.

With 3:25 to go in the game, Westwood faced a fourth down and 10 situation. Westwood’s fortunes waned when they were hit with an illegal procedure penalty, which made it fourth-and-15. Instead of punting, Westwood decided to go for it, a make-or-break decision, as it would leave Lower Richland in good field position if the conversion failed. Westwood got lucky on the fourth-down play as Lower Richland was penalized for roughing the passer, an automatic first down with 2:38 to go in the game. Again, on fourth down, Westwood faced with the same dilemma, and made the same decision, to go for the conversion, this time unsuccessful.

Upon regaining the offence on downs, Lower Richland was far from giving up. With 1:02 to go in the game, Gilmore ran the ball in for the touchdown. With 16 seconds to go, Westwood was still determined to take advantage of the last few seconds of game play. Westwood was in a position to make one desperation pass. King tried to connect with Smith, but the ball was just overthrown and the game ended with Lower Richland winning 14-9.

“The game was so close, when I look back, maybe we shouldn’t have pulled the foot off the gas on offense,” Summers said. “Our defense was playing lights out football, so we didn’t want to punt the ball. There’s a huge difference between our first game and this one. We need to get in the weight room and get stronger and faster. 2013 practice starts Monday.”

LRHS 8-0-0-6  14

WHS 0-6-3-0    9


First Quarter

LR – Gilmore 19 run. Hampton 2 pass from Gilmore. (10:25 )

Second Quarter

WHS – Smith 48 pass from Williams. Pass failed. (0:43)

Third Quarter

WHS – Howard 27 FG. (4:01)

Fourth Quarter

LR – Gilmore 28 run. Pass failed. (1:02)


Team stats

WHS               LR

First Downs                            13                    13

Rushing Yards                        31-49               43-180

Comp- Att-int                           19-35-1            7-25-2

Passing Yards                        241                  67

Fumbles – Lost                        1-0                   5-0

Penalties – Yards                    7-56                 7-73


Individual Stats

RUSHING: WHS – Canady 19-20, Williams 5-16, Brown 6-15, K. Smith 1-2. LR – Gilmore 19-97, Edmond 13-63, Minder 10-19, Davis 1-1.

PASSING: WHS – King 18-34-1,193 yards. Williams 1-1-0, 48 yards. LR – Edmond 7-19-1, 67yards. Gilmore 0-6-0, 0 yards.

RECEIVING: WHS – V.Smith 7-134, Lee 7-80,Williams 3-8, Canady 2-19. LR – Jackson 4-3, Davis 2-28, Hampton 1-9.

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