Donald Tomlin threw four touchdown passes as the Ridge View Blazers scored 36 unanswered points in a 46-14 win over the Lower Richland Diamond Hornets Friday, September 2.
“We knew coming into the week we needed a good week of preparation,” Tomlin said. “ We knew coming in what defense they were running. We knew we had something to prove with the way the last couple of weeks have gone. We haven’t been putting up a lot of points, but we’ve been going up against a lot of good teams. We knew we needed to execute, and it was a good team win tonight.”
Ridge View forced Lower Richland to punt on its first possession, and the Blazers took over at their 43. After an incomplete pass by Tomlin and penalties on both teams, Marcus Kelly moved Ridge View in a positive direction with a 2-yard run. A pass from Tomlin to Zion Agnew moved the ball to the Lower Richland 37. Kelly followed with a 21-yard run to the 16. Tomlin finished the drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Siah Mack for a 7-0 lead.
“I knew after we scored on that first offensive drive that they couldn’t play with us; no disrespect to them,” Tomlin said. “They are a great football team. I know what we have. I know our weapons. I just kept my head down and everybody calm and led the team. We had to keep getting first downs and keep getting in the box, and that’s what we did.”
Later in the quarter, Lower Richland started a drive at its 37. Marcus Smith had an incomplete pass and Lamarion Pearson had runs of two and five yards to set up a fourth-and-3. The Diamond Hornets elected to go for it and Smith found Mekhi Campfield on a short hitch route. Campfield then turned up field and outraced the Ridge View defense for a 56-yard touchdown. The extra point was good to tie the score at 7-7 with 28 seconds left in the quarter.
The Blazers regained the lead with a 21-yard field goal by Nassio Charles to pull ahead 10-7 with 8:47 left before halftime.
On the ensuing kickoff, Nate Branch raced 87 yards for a touchdown to give Lower Richland its first and only lead of the night at 14-10.
“We were getting into the flow of the game,” Ridge View head coach Derek Howard said. “Lower Richland has a ton of talented athletes. They have a good football program coached by a really good coaching staff. I knew they would be giving us their best. We knew they wanted to get that statement win. Our guys didn’t want to be that statement win. We wanted to play our brand of football. I was proud with how our kids played. They were able to make plays because they are a great football team. But I’m extremely proud of our guys with the way they responded to adversity.”
From there, it was all Ridge View. The next Blazers possession began at the Lower Richland 38-yard line. Following a 9-yard run by Kelly, Tomlin found a wide open Adonis McDaniel for a 29-yard touchdown. Charles added the extra point to put Ridge View ahead 17-14 7:43 left before halftime.
The Blazers’ next possession started at their 12-yard line. An underneath throw from Tomlin to Agnew turned into an 88-yard touchdown. Charles added the extra point, and Ridge View’s lead grew to 24-14 with 3:11 left.
Charles tacked on a 25-yard field goal to give the Blazers a 27-14 lead at halftime.
Early in the third quarter, Tomlin connected with Agnew again, this time for a 29-yard touchdown and a 33-14 lead with 10:04 left.
“It takes time,” Howard said. “People don’t understand that Donald is a first-year quarterback for us. They want us to be throwing for 500 yards and he’s only playing in his third game for us. We’re never going to put that kind of pressure on a kid. We want him to stay within the confines of the offense so we can help him to get better. I think he did a great job of buying into what we were doing and understanding the game plan. There were plays out there and our kids made plays.”
The Blazers’ defense recovered a fumble on the first play of the next Lower Richland drive. The turnover was quickly turned into points as Kelly rumbled 28 yards on the next play to the end zone. The extra point was no good as the Blazers led 39-14.
“I think we have one of the best defenses in the Midlands and in South Carolina,” Howard said. “That’s three games in a row where we’ve given up about 14 points. Anytime a defense gives up only 14 points, you should win that game.”
Breylon Boyd added a 1-yard touchdown run to set the final score at 46-14.
With the win, Ridge View improves to a 2-1 overall record. The Blazers will travel to Spring Valley Friday, September 9.
“This gets us back on track,” Howard said. “We won the Week 0 game against Blythewood. It was a tough game against Sumter. I think we looked at it like Sumter is a good football team. To lose it was heartbreaking, but the kids responded to the challenge and now we are back on the winning side of things. We play a really good Spring Valley team that we lost to by three points last year in a game that I thought we were more physical than they were. I’m really excited for what the future holds for these kids as they continuously get better week in and week out.”
Tomlin completed 14-of-23 passes for 362 yards and four touchdowns. Kelly rushed for 100 yards and one touchdown on ten carries. Agnew caught nine passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns.
Lower Richland falls to 1-2 and will travel to Rock Hill on September 9.
Smith completed 8-of-18 passes for 118 yards. He also rushed for seven yards on seven carries.
Jamell Myers rushed for 38 yards on seven carries.
Campfield had four receptions for 74 yards and one touchdown.
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