On Team Lily night, a night dedicated to raising money for Richard Winn first grader Lily Baggott’s Light the Night Walk team in the fight against leukemia, there was plenty of fight in the Richard Winn Eagles football team.
Sophomore Matt Taylor made his first start at quarterback for the Eagles with Austin Knox getting snaps at running back. That combination worked on the Eagles’ opening drive.
They marched the ball down the field and capped it off with Austin Knox scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run with 7:31 remaining in the first quarter.
The two-point conversion was good on pass from Matt Taylor to Logan Gibbons, and Richard Winn lead 8-0.
On the ensuing drive, Richard Winn held the Saints but quarterback Mason Miles converted a key fourth down play on a quarterback keeper.
The Saints would scored on a run by Tommy Green. With 4:40 to go in first quarter the game was tied 8-8.
Later in the quarter, Miles, who also plays defensive back, intercepted a Taylor pass and returned it for a touchdown.
The two-point conversion was good, giving the Saints a 16-8 lead with 2:40 remaining the quarter.
Richard Winn scored again in the first half,on a drive with a key fourth down conversion by Knox on a quarterback draw play to move the ball inside the 11-yard line.
From there the Eagles would punch it in to cut the lead to 16-14 but Knox was stopped short on a two-point conversion attempt.
The Eagles mounted another promising drive but it stalled as Mason Gibbons missed on a field goal attempt.
The Eagles gained the field position after a blocked punt by Logan Gibbons.
They trailed 16-14 at the half.
The game was close early the second half but the screen pass game and the option pitch proved to be the Eagles’ undoing.
Running backs Tommy Green and Jacob Corbett combined with Miles to move the ball down the Eagles throat on a methodical touchdown drive in the third quarter.
The two-point conversion failed, but the Saints had a 24-14 lead.
Later the the third quarter, the Eagles had a fire lit under them when Mason Gibbons was injured on a play in which the Clarendon Hall defender speared him by leading with his helmet.
Though the play drew a personal foul penalty, the personal foul was offset by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Eagles.
At that point, the Eagles who had complained of no-calls throughout the game, decided to suck it up and play hard nosed football.
Thanks to good pass blocking Austin Knox hooked up with Matt Taylor on a long third down pass play to get the Eagles inside the 10-yard line.
The drive, however, stalled inside the 5-yard line.
Taylor was tackled at the 2-yard line on a fourth down scramble, ending the scoring threat.
The Eagles trailed 24-14 going into the fourth quarter but there was no quit in this bunch.
RWA kept fighting and got the ball back.
They regrouped for another touchdown drive with Alex Scott taking a handoff from Taylor and barreling into the end zone to cut the lead to 24-20. That was as close as the Eagles would come, though.
Clarendon Hall received the ensuing kickoff and managed to run out the clock and hold off any chances of an Eagle victory.
Richard Winn played an inspired game of football of which they can be proud, but they came up on the short end of a 24-20 score.
Austin Knox led all rushers with 24 carries for 142 yards and two touchdowns. He completed 4-12 passes for 51 yards.
Alex Scott rushed two times for 3 yards and a touchdown. On defense, Logan Gibbons had a stellar night with 10 tackles, including two tackles for a loss, six assists on tackles and a blocked punt. He also booted a kickoff into the end zone for a touch back. John Coleman continued his steady linebacker play with nine tackles and three assists.
The coaches saw a spark within this group and noted how the team chemistry is coming together as they are starting to believe in one another and their ability to win as a team.
Head coach Kenny Atkerson acknowledged the officiating as he coached up his players but to his credit he made sure they continued to play a clean, fundamentally sound football game.
The Eagles were without wide out Reid Johnson who suffered an injury in practice this week. Corey Davs’ playing time was seriously limited due to an ankle injury from the previous week.
This bunch showed some Eagle spirit and toughness that bodes well as they move on toward next week’s contest.
Their next home game is Sept. 28 and it will be homecoming, so they hope for a strong showing in front of alumni and fans for that contest.