With running back Derrell Scott limited with an injury, Havelock’s Taylor Woods had a feeling he might see a lot of work against Richlands on Friday night.
Woods carried 23 times for 174 yards, scoring twice, as the banged-up Rams opened the Coastal 3A Conference with a 28-16 victory over Richlands at Havelock High.
“The coaches gave me a chance and gave me the ball,” Woods said. “But I have to give all the credit to the line.”
Scott, who injured his back against Northside the previous week, carried just three times for 10 yards in the first quarter before giving way to Woods.
“Derrell could have played if we really needed him to play,” Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant said. “We knew we were going to give (Taylor) the ball.”
Woods broke a 7-7 tie with a 5-yard scoring run, and Dylan Baker’s extra point put the Rams (6-0, 1-0) ahead for good 14-7 with 10:24 left in the second quarter.
On Havelock’s next possession, quarterback Travis Sabdo went deep to Kyran Bowman for an 87-yard touchdown, giving the Rams a 21-7 advantage with 8:08 left in the second. Sabdo was 8 of 15 for 160 yards with an interception and two touchdowns.
“That was a back-breaker,” Richlands coach Justin Snider said of Havelock’s score. “It was a blown coverage, and we kind of fell of sleep and didn’t do what we were supposed to do. It happens playing against someone of that caliber.”
Havelock’s Anthony Fisher then recovered a muffed kickoff, and Woods went into the end zone from 35 yards out, lifting the Rams to a 28-7 lead with 7:46 left in the second. But those would be Havelock’s last points of the night.
“We’ve got a lot to work on, but overall, we did good,” Woods said. “We just have to do our jobs. We’ve got to work better and work harder.”
Richlands (3-3, 0-1) got a 40-yard field goal from Tolson Jeffrey to narrow the gap to 28-10 at halftime, and in the third quarter, Jamar Harrington dominated on a seven-minute touchdown drive, scoring from three yards out to cut the margin to 28-16 with 35 seconds left in the third quarter.
Harrington finished with 82 yards on 20 carries.
“I feel like we played really well,” Snider said. “They’re state champions for a reason. They have an excellent football team, and we’re trying to build a program in year one, and to play them to a 12-point game, I feel it’s an achievement.”
Havelock gained possession with just more than six minutes on the clock in the fourth quarter, and behind Woods and Matthew Boykin, ran out the clock for the victory.
“We just had to keep the clock running and stay in bounds,” Woods said. “Overall, we did a good job with that.”
The game marked the first meeting between the two teams in the new Coastal 3A Conference.
“This was our measuring stick, playing the defending champions, and you want to know where you’re at, and I feel like we had a good showing,” Snider said. “I feel like maybe we earned a little bit of respect, that we’re doing the right things and heading in the right direction.
“Considering we’re moving up to 3A and almost played toe-to-toe with the state champions, I feel like we’re on our way up.”
The top-ranked Rams totaled 428 yards, including 268 yards on the ground, but Bryant said Richlands proved a good test.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” Bryant said. “Richlands had a good game plan and played us really well. We’ve got some stuff we’ve got to fix on both sides of the ball. That’s why we play the game, to get better, and we’ll get better next week.”
Havelock is scheduled to host Jacksonville at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Richlands 7 3 6 0 -16
Havelock 7 21 0 0 -28
H – Taron Wallace, 26-yard pass from Travis Sabdo, Dylan Baker kick, 8:26
R – Jalen Dickerson, 61-yard run, Tolson Jeffrey kick, 5:54
H – Taylor Woods, 5-yard run, Baker kick, 10:24
H – Kyran Bowman, 87-yard pass from Sabdo, Baker kick, 8:08
H – Woods, 35-yard run, Baker kick, 7:47
R – Jeffrey, 40-yard field goal, 4:00
R – Jamar Harrington, 3-yard run, kick blocked, :35
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