Richland Rangers rally past Loyd Star

Published 6:00 am Monday, October 30, 2000

RICHLAND – The Richland Rangers continued their Cinderellaseason Friday night, clinching the Division 6-2A championship witha hard-fought 26-22 comeback win over Loyd Star’s Hornets.Richland, going winless (0-10) in 1999, improved its record to 9-1overall and 4-0 in division play.

Loyd Star (8-2, 5-1) striving for a second straight divisionchampionship, almost pulled out a victory. Richland’s Micah Sanfordpreserved the win by intercepting a pass intended for Cass Bristerwith just 24 seconds left in the game. Sanford and Brister felldown together in the end zone going for the football.

Loyd Star coach Anthony Hart was disappointed by the defeat buthe saw some positives. “Our team played hard. There’s not enoughgood things you can say about them. Our seniors did a great job ofleading this team.”

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Hart’s Hornets have an open date this week. The state playoffsbegin Nov. 10 and they are anticipating a game at Gulfport St.John, the projected Division 8-2A champion. St. John must beatSumrall Friday to secure the title.

Richland, under the direction of 49-year-old Douglas Holder,will host the Division 8-2A runner-up Nov. 10. The Rangers concluderegular season play Friday night at St. Andrew’s.

Hart said his players had something to look forward to. “We arein the state playoffs and everybody is equal. We’ll have a week torest and get ready for the playoffs.”

Hart said fullback/linebacker Adam Speeg injured an ankle in thefirst quarter and defensive tackle Beau Morrison aggravated a kneeinjury.

Offensively, the Hornets amassed 420 yards offense. They rushedthe ball 26 times for 312 yards and passed for 108 more. They lost2 fumbles.

Tailback Derrick Johnson provided the Hornets with 225 rushingyards on just 12 carries. His fourth-quarter, 43-yard TD run putthe Hornets up 22-20 with 10:09 left to play.

Speeg rushed 24 yards for a first-quarter TD. Jody Britt kickedthe extra point. Speeg had 2 carries for 26 yards.

Still in the first quarter, quarterback Brad Britt hooked upwith Chase Coley on a 42-yard TD pass. The Hornets led 13-0 with6:16 showing.

In the second quarter, Jody Britt kicked a 23-yard field goal,putting the Hornets up 16-7 at halftime.

Richland, led by 285-pound senior fullback Sam Myers, aconverted lineman; and freshman running back Timmy Sanders,provided the spark in the second half rally. Sanders blazed for 163yards and 3 touchdowns.

Antonio Carroll scored the winning TD on a 6-yard run with 2:24left in the game.

“Richland has a lot of athletes and a lot of speed,” said Hart.”It hurt us a lot when we lost Adam Speeg.”

Demarcus Barnes followed Johnson with 8 carries for 41 yardsColey had 3 carries for 18 yards.

Brad Britt completed 5 of 8 passes for 100 yards. Coley had 4catches for 97 yards. Barnes had 1 catch for 11 yards.

On defense, linebacker Cody Covington led Loyd Star with19 tackles and an interception. Matthew Delaughter replaced Speegat linebacker and made 12 tackles. Casey Warren had 11stops.