What Steve Said: Steve Bubalo 10/20
By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
In 2010, Richmond put together a magical season, going 15-0 on its way to a thrilling Class 3 state title win over John Burroughs. The following season they nearly did it all again, going 12-2 and coming up one game short of the championship.
Ever since then the Spartans have been trying to recapture that magic, but have failed to win more than seven games, including a couple of .500 seasons.
That is, until 2016.
Richmond heads into the Class 3 playoffs and its opening-round game against Kansas City Central with a perfect 9-0 record after defeating Lexington 46-21.
I got to witness that victory first-hand and came away impressed. Anyone would have been. What impressed me most is how well-rounded the Spartans are.
They’ve got an explosive offense, which, at least on Friday night, was led by dynamic wide receiver Trevon Alexander. The junior put on the most impressive single-game performance I’ve seen so far this season, totaling 272 receiving yards and scoring five touchdowns, one of which was on the ground. Especially in the first half, he was unstoppable.
Just as important as having a player like Alexander is having a quarterback that can get him the ball. Dominic Williams looked solid under center, even scampering for a long touchdown run. No high school football team can be complete without an effective running game, which is where Dom Nobile comes in.
But where it all starts is the big boys up front. The lines on both offense and defense are full of big, physical players. I believe Richmond will go as far as its linemen can take them. Especially if they square off against a team like Maryville, known for being physical and pounding opposing teams with the run game, that Spartan defensive line has to play as good or better as it did last Friday night.
With that win the Spartans have now won 15 of their last 16 games dating back to last season. Still, they seemed to come into this season as a bit of an unknown, at least to people outside of Richmond, not even receiving any votes in the state rankings prior to the season.
After a few weeks that was no longer the case and the Spartans currently sit at No. 6.
“They were aware they weren’t getting a lot of attention (to start the season),” Richmond head coach Rob Bowers said of his team. “But the only ranking I care about is the one at the end of the year.”
Spoken like a true coach.
But Bowers knows the road ahead is going to be difficult. Assuming they can get past Central Academy, the potential is there for the Spartans to possibly face Chillicothe (8-1 ranked No. 9), Maryville (9-0, ranked No. 1) and Center (9-0, ranked No. 3) in successive games.
That is a gauntlet. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Spartans come through the other side and into the state semifinals, but man, that won’t be easy.
From talking to Bowers, though, it sounds like he feels like he has the team with the right mindset to pull it off. A team that will be focused on the task at hand each week, not looking ahead to what might be. Come playoffs time that’s critical.
“They’ve done a great job not looking ahead,” Bowers said. “I expect them to continue to do the same thing. If we don’t do that we won’t have a chance to play Maryville. We’ll play teams capable of beating us before we get to Maryville.”
I basically heard the same thing talking to Alexander. It’s obvious this team is focused. They know what’s at stake.
Can they find the same magic the 2010 team did? It’s going to be fun to find out.
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