E.A. Sports Today

J’ville gets its revenge

Nico Richmond, Golden Eagles exact a little payback on rival Alexandria

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — Nico Richmond had been waiting for Friday night for a year.

The Jacksonville running back remembered the sting of the way Alexandria took it to his team last year and couldn’t wait to make amends. Some banter, mostly one way, across social media only fueled the fire.

The Golden Eagles got their payback Friday in a big way. Richmond had 273 all-purpose yards and scored three total touchdowns and the Jacksonville defense was physical in a 28-14 victory.

“It’s a big rivalry game when we play them,” Richmond said. “We wanted to win this game a lot; it means a lot to our seniors and to the whole team. Words can’t explain how meaningful it is. It’s something that we wanted; you’ve got to want stuff in life.”

The Golden Eagles wanted in the worse way to make amends for last year’s 46-14 pasting. Coach Clint Smith said the coaches didn’t harp on it, it wasn’t a focal point, but the players “all knew, it was one of those understood things.”

Richmond ran over the Valley Cubs the way they Cubs ran over the Golden Eagles last year. He rushed for 145 yards behind a deep and physical front that was a key element in the victory.

As much as Smith will refute the notion, the Valley Cubs got it in their heads Richmond is a mere second-stringer in the Golden Eagles’ backfield behind Taye Ackles and they let him have it for that in the twitterverse.

But Richmond answered the haters by scoring on runs of 3 and 37 yards and ripping through the defense on a 51-yard punt return for another score (after being stopped by the punter on an earlier return). Colton Clark threw a TD pass to Josh Glass for the other score. The Golden Eagles scored three touchdowns in the final seven minutes of the second quarter.

“They were talking a lot on Twitter and none of our team said anything,” Richmond said. “They were bringing up the old score from last year and saying that’s how it was going to be again. They were telling me I wasn’t a good running back if I didn’t start, but I don’t listen to people. I just come out and play.”

Smith was quick to dispel the notion of Richmond as second string, talking about them mostly as a merged commodity. That togetherness was evidenced after the game when Ackles waited for his running mate to finish his media obligations and together they walked towards the field house.

“That means everything right there,” Smith said, gesturing in the direction of the players walking toward the gate. “They both have good skill sets; they both bring a lot of the table. The greatest thing about it is they’re great friends and they pull for each other.”

The Jacksonville defense did their part to preserve the victory, making a big fourth-down stop inside the 10 in the fourth quarter with the score 21-14. Anthony Allen and Glass made the big play, wrapping up Grayson Chaffin before he could move the chains.

It wasn’t much later Richmond was streaking downfield to score the insurance touchdown.

“They were well prepared, they were a very hungry team and a very physical team,” Alexandria coach Frank Tucker said. “They beat us tonight. I think we’re going to bounce back. If we’ve got any guts to us, we will.”

Alexandria 0 8 6 0 — 14
Jacksonville 0 21 0 7 — 28

J – Nico Richmond 9 run (Preston Harvey kick), 6:57 2Q
J – Nico Richmond 51 punt return (Preston Harvey kick), 4:26 2Q
A – Keenan Woodruff 26 run (Jamal Tucker run), 1:12 2Q
J – Josh Glass 9 pass from Colton Clark (Preston Harvey kick), 0:33 2Q
A – Keenan Woodruff 26 run (run failed), 11:00 3Q
J – Nico Richmond 37 run (Preston Harvey kick), 5:35 4Q

Team stats Alex Jax
First downs 13 16
Rushes-yds 43-204 35-241
Comp-Att-Int 6-12-0 7-12-0
Passing yds 96 42
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Punts-avg 2-37.0 1-42.0
Penalties-yds 5-55 8-75

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