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Game Recap September 20, 2022
BY JACE WOODARD
What a game. The history of Richland and Hanford football has, for as long as I can remember, been about a field, ownership of the town, a so-called “house” and what team it is going to belong to that year. This year, history repeated itself because this game was truly a turf war. The Bombers pulled it out at the very end to take the win in a 21-14 victory defeating the Hanford Falcons.
The Bombers started their first drive without their QB. Richland’s head coach Mike Neidhold explained, “this was to honor Hanford’s starting QB Cole Mullins who is suffering from Ewing Sarcoma Cancer.” Neidhold continued to say, “[hanford] couldn’t play with their guy so we will start the game without ours.” In support of Cole, all of the players repped a #9 sticker on their helmets and the Richland student section had a “Colestron9” sign hanging in front of them. The Bombers received a penalty for the illegal formation, and the players came together and shook hands wishing each other luck all in honor of Cole. I truly wish the best for Cole and his family and I hope everything goes well.
This is when the game really begins and expectations were high for the Bombers, as they usually are. The game seems to start as every Bomber fan had imagined with Richland’s Landon Charlton returning the opening kickoff into the endzone. But it was called back because of a penalty. Penalties against the Bombers seemed prevalent throughout the game.
The Bomber's offense seemed to come out on their heels and throughout the entire first quarter, they had not escaped Falcon territory. The Bombers had failed to put a good drive together, they were forced to punt three times just in that quarter.
Meanwhile, the Bomber defense came ready during the first quarter. Linebacker Kalani Steward picked up a fumble and both Charlton and Isaya Galvaz collided with each other almost snagging a pick and possibly more. This defense and lack of offense was keeping the first quarter scoreless. Fans wanted more from the Bombers.
Second quarter Bomber defense is still doing its job. Richland’s Zane Weikum gets a big sack tackling Hanford QB Eli Perkes. When asked about the game, Zane said, “in the first part of the game I'm really excited because I’m playing football and I love football”. Whatever was going on defensively, it transferred over to the offensive end as Richland started to put a drive together with eight minutes left in the half. There was a big fourth down for the Bombers with nine yards to go. Richland’s QB Josh Woodard completed a pass to his wide receiver, Tanner Schuster, for the first down. This led to the Bomber putting the first points on the board with a carry by Charlton making the score 7-0.
The Bomber kickoff was an onside kick, recovered by kicker Jason Slack. Describing what happened he said, “we call it ‘hootiehoo’. We planned it out because Hanford has a huge hole in the middle of their front line”. The Bombers got the ball back but penalties caused a turnover on downs.
Going into the third quarter, Hanford came out of the locker room hot, taking the football to Richland's ten-yard line. Richland’s defense stops the drive on a fourth and four, giving Richland the ball back to QB Josh Woodard on the three-yard line.
Hanford's defense came in clutch, causing a fumble which they recovered. The Falcon’s offense then came out and tried to pound the ball into the endzone, but Richland’s defense would put up a fight. Richland does what Hanford did to them and causes yet another fumble that Hanford ends up recovering. The game was truly a fight, both teams giving it their best.
Hanford would get the ball back on the ten-yard line, but the Richland defense was not budging. A quick QB sneak by Hanford’s Eli Perks into the endzone would shock Richland fans and tie the game up. Hanford seemed to have all the momentum. They had stopped Richlands offense again and had the ball to start the fourth quarter. This left Richland in a very uncomfortable spot.
The game was still undecided at the start of the fourth. The Falcons still had momentum but the Bomber defense stood strong causing another fumble, unfortunately, that was called back. The Bombers would ultimately end Hanford's drive with two big deflected passes.
In a very anticipated wait, the Bomber offense got their chance. It looked to be now or never for the Bombers. Woodard would get the Bombers off to a good start with a big carry for a first down and more. Josh described the emotions of this game as “very high” and “through the roof” because of the close game but said had his crosshairs on the win “I was just ready to go and get it”. With hopes up, the Falcons then cause another turnover, giving them the ball with just five minutes left. Falcon running back Easton Woods finds a hole, carrying the ball 50 yards followed by Caden Wilson scoring for the Falcons again. Hanford takes the lead, 14-7.
The Bomber offense took the field finding their stride at the right time. QB Josh Woodard threw a lazer to teammate Nate Ruelas on a big third down conversion, igniting the Bomber student section and crowd. Woodard would also find a connection to Tanner Schuster for another Bomber touchdown. Tanner reflected on the play saying, “I saw the corner down and told Josh what I was running and we were able to make the connection”.
The game was now tied up, Richland students were making it impossible to hear. The Bomber defense came out and shut down the Falcons giving Richland the ball with 1:19 left. Bomber's offense takes the field playing like the great teams before them. Passes are being thrown and completed across the entire field.
The Bombers made it to field-goal range with one minute left. Not stopping there, they kept marching the ball up the field. Time was ticking, but the Bombers had held onto their timeouts for this exact reason. With seconds left, Woodard would sneak twice and score in a dog fight in the trenches against Hanford's goal-line defense. Bombers now lead 21-14.
Half the stadium gets electrified with Richland students making sure everyone in the town could hear the Richland fight song, and the other half goes silent.
Josh gave credit to the Bomber offensive line saying they did their job and helped him sneak it in. Josh also talking about Richland's last drive said it was all about trust, “trust in teammates and trust in coaches.” The game ended with a pick by Tanner Schuster with three seconds left, similar to the Southridge game. The Bombers finally secured their victory.
What a game. this was certainly one for the history books. This was TRULY A TURF WAR.
September 16, 20221234Final
- 2nd Quarter
Touchdown: Landon Charlton 13 Yd Run (4:21)
Richland 7, Hanford 0
- 3rd Quarter
Touchdown: Eli Perkes 1 Yd Run (4:56)
Richland 7, Hanford 7
- 4th Quarter
Touchdown: Caden Wilson 6 Yd Run (4:42)
Hanford 14, Richland 7
Touchdown: Tanner Schuster 16 Yd Pass from Josh Woodard (3:04)
Richland 14, Hanford 14
Touchdown: Josh Woodard 1 Yd Run (0:16)
Richland 21, Hanford 14