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|Notre Dame stops Richwood|
The Richwood Rams (9-4) came up on the short end of a 16-12 quarter-final loss to the No.1-ranked team in Class 3A, Notre Dame, at Rams Stadium Friday night.
The Pioneers of Notre Dame were held in check to begin the game as Richwood stood tall on the first two series of the game.
Finally, on the third offensive series of the game, the scoreless game broke open when kicker Hunter Stover connected on a school-record 58-yard field goal to give Notre Dame a 3-0 advantage.
The first quarter gave way to more offensive fireworks from Notre Dame in the second quarter as the Pioneers extended their lead to 9-0 on a one-yard jaunt by quarterback Ryan Leonards.
Richwood broke up the extra-point attempt and also forced a pair of missed field goals out of the Pioneers in the first half.
Leonards rushed for 24 yards on just three carries and two touchdowns for Notre Dame. He added a 16-yard touchdown run to his total near the end of the second quarter as Notre Dame built a 16-0 advantage over Richwood.
The Rams defense came out with a vengeance and shut down the vaunted Notre Dame offense in the second half. Notre Dame picked up just two first downs and less than 60 yards of offense in the second half.
"We made a great team," Richwood head coach Warren Trimble said.
Leonards was a mere 2-of-11 for 69 yards throwing the football for Notre Dame. The great effort in the second half allowed Richwood to climb back into contention.
Richard Wilson grabbed his first touchdown reception of the playoffs in the third quarter as he broke free on a 15-yard score to pull Richwood to within 16-6 to end the third stanza.
Anthony Abraham led Richwood in receptions with three catches for 19 yards. Quarterback Greg Johnson was 4-of-22 for 34 yards on the night.
Johnson also was the leading rusher for Richwood with 51 yards on 18 carries for the Rams. Richwood was limited to just 110 yards of offense (76 rushing, 34 passing) against the top defense in Class 3A.
The Richwood defense limited the Notre Dame rushing attack — considered one of the most solid running games in the state — to just 141 yards rushing, but they could not match the same output for their own team.
Robert Sarver led Notre Dame with 48 yards on 10 carries while Jordan Bertrand was not far behind with 39 yards on 15 carries.
Dorham Epting gave Richwood a new sense of hope late in the game with a 45-yard fumble return for a touchdown to pull Richwood within 16-12.
Richwood then forced Notre Dame to punt on their next series and had a chance to take the lead before a Johnson interception allowed Notre Dame to ride back south with a quarter-final victory.
Notre Dame advances to the semi-final round to host Redemptorist High School of Baton Rouge.
Richwood will return almost an entire defensive unit that played above expectations in 2008. Abraham will return to lead the Richwood offense, considered to be a rising star in Class 3A.