One fumble and even a few penalties may not derail a team.
But Westside didn’t stop at one or two.
Despite leading by 18 points in the fourth quarter, the Patriots coughed up key fumbles, including allowing defensive touchdowns on returns on consecutive possessions, as Richmond Academy came back to tie the Patriots 24-24 Friday night at Westside.
According to the GHSA constitution and by-laws, “Schools from differing classifications may use the overtime procedure if agreement is reached and communicated to the Referee before the beginning of the game.”
The two sides didn’t reach an agreement to play overtime before the game, though Hughes thought his team had a chance with all the momentum if overtime did happen.
Westside rushed for 262 yards but had more than 150 penalty yards to go with the fumbles. The Patriots also had three lost fumbles in as many possessions in the final quarter.
“They beat up on us,” Musketeers coach Chris Hughes said. “We were lucky to come out of here with a tie.”
Westside appeared to be safely in front for a while in a quest to beat a Class AAAAA school one week after getting beaten by another such school, Evans, in the first game. The Patriots lost that one, 41-0.
When it wasn’t taking steps backward on fumbles or penalties, which it did very often, Westside (0-1-1) was an efficient mover. On the ground, Joshua Reynolds had 61 first-half yards with a touchdown and was also dangerous on punt returns — he took one to the Richmond Academy 10. Reynolds burst to 140 yards in the game before fumbling woes ruined his start.
Through the air, Westside used the Tyree McCord-to-Quinton Phillips connection. Of McCord’s eight completions, seven went to Phillips. The receiver, who also had 63 rush yards, made catches while open and when covered. He had 100 yards by the end of the first half and had two touchdowns, his second with 23.4 seconds to go to make it 18-6 Patriots at the half.
From the other side, Richmond Academy struggled. The Musketeers (0-0-1) ran only six plays in the first quarter and looked listless until Westside had a mishandled snap on a punt. Richmond Academy scored the next play on a six-yard Justin Dears run. In the second half, Tony Daggett threw a touchdown pass to start the rally and cut the deficit to 24-12.
Then all those fumbles showed up.
“We got to take care of the football and we got to stop the penalties,” Westside coach Scott Tate said. “That’s what, I think, let them back into the ball game.”