RICHMOND – It was an instant classic that will be remembered for years to come.
Years down the road, when the 2015 Richmond-Algonac football game is revisited, there will be a key sequence of events that comes to mind.
After Algonac (6-1 Blue Water Area Conference, 7-1) finally got on the board in the second quarter on an 8-yard yard from Shane Asselin, Richmond (6-1, 7-1) blocked the extra point to lead 8-6.
That special teams play would loom large late in the game as Algonac tried to fight its way back from a point down.
“This was playoff football and it makes us feel we can do what we need to do going forward,” Richmond co-head coach James Bishop said. “We preach facing adversity all the time and we did it tonight.
“We had talked about winning all three phases of the game. Special teams was huge. We saw something on special teams and got a big block in the kicking game.”
But that wasn’t the only big play Richmond would experience on special teams.
On the ensuing kick-off, Richmond fumbled and Algonac got the ball right back deep in Richmond territory. A few plays later Algonac took its first lead of the game on a four-yard touchdown run from Asselin. The Muskrats got a conversion run to take a 14-8 lead and it appeared the momentum had swung their way.
But then lightning struck and D’Sean Hamilton took the ensuing kick off back 92-yards for the go-ahead and final score in Richmond’s 15-14 victory.
The sequence of events was the biggest shift in the game and was key in Richmond claiming a share of the Blue Water Area Conference title.
“You hate to have a great high school football game and have someone have to come to the locker room sad,” Algonac coach Scott Barnhart said. “They have a great team, they made plays when they had to and they had a great drive at the end of the game with a tremendous amount of rushing.
“But other than that, I thought our defense was stellar this week as they have been and offensively we had an opportunity to make some plays and dropped some balls and made some mistakes. In a tight game like this, special teams made a difference.”
In the second half, both defenses were at their best. Neither team could get much going but on Algonac’s final drive they finally found some cracks in Richmond’s defense.
But after an eight play drive, quarterback A.J. Garshott fumbled in Richmond territory around the five minute mark and the Muskrats never got the ball back.
“We fought hard defensively and we played great,” Garshott said. “We gave up that one touchdown and they were about to shut down Richmond’s running game. We just couldn’t find the end zone in the second half. Turnovers were a big factor.
“This will motivate us quite a bit. We got Brown City next week and then we got the playoffs where we are very motivated for. This stings very bad not being able to come up on top but I’m proud of my team and the heart we showed. I wouldn’t’ want to play for any other team.”
Richmond meanwhile also hopes to use the game for motivation. After the Garshott fumble Richmond finally had success running the football and was able to run out the clock.
“It makes you feel good when you keep running yards on them and they can’t stop it,” Hamilton said.
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at [email protected] Follow him on twitter @jhayes1136.