The difference in size and speed between the two teams made it look like the Cavaliers were going up against a college team as Richlands did whatever it wanted in a 63-0 Southwest District blowout in Richlands. Carroll County (6-3, 4-1 SWD) could have claimed its first district football title in school history with a win, but the Blue Tornado put that notion to rest from the opening kick, blasting the Cavaliers for 42 points in the first half alone to roll to its seventh straight district championship.
“We’re not in that league yet and that’s just the bottom line. That’s what we strive to be but they’re physically bigger, faster, just you name it and that was about it,” Carroll County head coach Tom Hale said. “We just didn’t have an answer for them offensively or defensively. They just dominated in all areas of the game.”
Richlands (9-0, 5-0 SWD) struck quick and often, putting together five scoring drives of two plays or less in the first half, including a pair of one-play scoring drives. Junior running back Devon Johnson, who has already been offered a scholarship by the University of Virginia, rushed for four touchdowns and 115 yards on just 10 carries. Senior receiver Austin Johnson caught two touchdown passes for 110 yards, including a 92-yarder in the first quarter, while quarterback Cody Lockhart completed all four of his passes for 155 yards and two scores.
“They’ve got a heck of a football team, just bigger, faster, stronger in all areas of the game,” Hale said. “They are big and balanced and they can run the ball. And who do you cover in terms of wideouts? They can throw the ball and they catch it well. They’ve got the total package.”
In the first half alone, Richlands racked up 284 yards of total offense compared to just 52 for the Cavaliers. Carroll had just three first downs in the first half, one coming on a fake punt and another coming on a personal foul against the Blue Tornado.
After the Cavs gained just one yard on the opening possession, Richlands needed just two plays and 19 seconds to reach the end zone after a 24 yard pass from Lockhart to Sean Overton set up Devon Johnson for a 20-yard touchdown scamper.
Carroll’s first string advanced into Richlands territory for the only time in the game on the next possession after Ulises Moreno scrambled 16 yards on a fake punt. The Cavs could gain only two more yards before having to punt, pinning the Blue Tornado at their own 8-yard line. The bad field position did little to deter Richlands, however, as the Blues scored on the very next play. Lockhart unleashed a college-level bomb from his own goal line that Austin Johnson caught 65 yards down the field before racing 92 yards to the end zone for a quick 14-0 lead.
Devon Johnson added touchdown runs of 2 and 12 yards in the second quarter to increase the lead to 28-0 with 7:15 still left to play in the first half. Things went from bad to worse on the ensuing kickoff as Richlands recovered when Carroll failed to get on the kick at its own 18. Lockhart hooked up with Austin Johnson for the second time on the very next play, this time for an 18-yard touchdown that made it 35-0.
Richlands took over on its next possession at the Carroll 26 following a blocked punt. Second-string quarterback Reece Strong connected with Sean Overton on an 11-yard touchdown pass three plays later to make it 42-0 going into halftime.
Lockhart scored on a 15-yard run early in the second half and Devon Johnson rushed for his fourth touchdown later in the third to make it 56-0. Richlands made it nine touchdowns on nine possessions early in the fourth when Colten Staten scored from a yard out.
Carroll past midfield two more times in the fourth quarter as freshman quarterback Connor Lundy threw passes of 34 and 28 yards to Chris Smoot. The second of those passes set the Cavs up at the Richlands 17 before time ran out on the game.
In all, Richlands outgained Carroll 423-132 in total yardage.
Carroll must now rebound in a hurry with a regular season finale looming Friday at home against Graham (1-8, 1-4 SWD). The Cavs have been in this position before, losing a shot at the district championship against Richlands and then losing to the G-Men the following week. In 2005, the Cavs lost a 7-6 heartbreaker to undefeated Richlands at home before getting drilled 49-7 at Graham the following week. Last year, Carroll fell 21-13 to Richlands in a showdown for the district title before losing 35-14 at Graham.
“Last year it was such a close game and the kids laid it on the line. Tonight we just got dominated by a better football team,” Hale said. “I think next week to end up our last home game of the regular season, our kids will come out and they will be ready to play.”
Carroll Co. 0 0 0 0 — 0
Richlands 14 28 14 7 — 63
R — D. Johnson 20 run (R. Strong kick)
R — Au. Johnson 92 pass from Lockhart (R. Strong kick)
R — D. Johnson 2 run (R. Strong kick)
R — D. Johnson 12 run (R. Strong kick)
R — Au. Johnson 18 pass from Lockhart (R. Strong kick)
R — Overton 8 pass from R. Strong (R. Strong kick)
R — Lockhart 15 run (R. Strong kick)
R — D. Johnson 2 run (R. Strong kick)
R — Staten 1 run (B. Brown kick)
First Downs 5 18
Rushes-Yards 31-63 24-242
Passing Yards 69 181
Passing 3-12-0 6-6-0
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 2-20 3-25
Possession 32:01 15:59
RUSHING — Bowman 9-26, Moreno 4-14, Pedero 1-8, Mollett 6-7, Marshall 2-7, Lamb 5-4, Ayers 2-2, Guy 1-1, Lundy 1-minus 6.
PASSING — Lundy 2-7-0 62 yds., Bowman 1-5-0 7 yds.
RECEIVING — Smoot 2-62, Mollett 1-7.
RUSHING — D. Johnson 10-115, Thomas 1-37, Staten 4-24, E. Johnson 2-18, A. Johnson 1-17, Lockhart 1-15, Lowe 2-12, Overton 1-11, A.J. Johnson 1-5, Brown 1-minus 12.
PASSING — Lockhart 4-4-0 155 yds., R. Strong 2-2-0 26 yds.
RECEIVING — Au. Johnson 2-110, Overton 3-50, B. Strong 1-21.