Football: Encouraging signs in Richards’ win over Indianapolis Tech
By Dennis Nelson For Sun-Times Media August 29, 2014 10:52PM
Richards' Hasan Muhammad-Rogers (8) celebrates after a touchdown during the first half against Indianapolis Tech in Oak Lawn Friday, August, 29, 2014. | Jim Boyce/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 1, 2014 6:38AM
Richards wasn’t at full strength and did not play its best during its season opener Friday night in Oak Lawn.
Despite the shortcomings, the 2013 Class 6A finalist was good enough to post a 28-9 nonconference victory over Indianapolis Tech.
Richards (1-0) won its home opener for the fourth year in a row. Indianapolis Tech fell to 1-1.
“We started out slow and we were missing a lot of starters,” Richards senior quarterback Hasan Muhammad-Rogers said. “When you are missing people, you can expect mistakes.”
Three senior receivers were among 12 players in street clothes Friday.
“We had three of our top four receivers out tonight,” Richards coach Tony Sheehan said. “That plays a role, but we still have to play better. The young guys who played tonight were encouraging.”
What was discouraging were 18 penalties and three turnovers. All three turnovers came in the third quarter.
As usual, Richards leaned on the play-making ability of Muhammad-Rogers, and he delivered. The quarterback totaled nearly 250 yards of offense and rushed for three touchdowns.
“We have to put together four quarters of football, that’s for sure,” Muhammad-Rogers said. “We have to play from start to finish, 100 percent.”
Rogers ran to pay dirt from 5 and 8 yards in the first half, staking the Bulldogs to a 13-0 lead. A defensive stand just before the half forced Indianapolis Tech to settle for a field goal to make it 13-3 at the break.
Indianapolis Tech returned the second-half kickoff for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 13-9. The Titans then forced three turnovers but failed to take advantage thanks to a stingy Bulldogs defense. Richards forced two turnovers of its own, Ramonta Hill and Maurice Williams-Coleman getting interceptions.
“We put them in some bad spots and they played well,” Sheehan said of the defense. “We’re encouraged by that.”
Rogers’ 10-yard touchdown run, a safety on intentional grounding and a 14-yard touchdown run by Hill, all in the fourth quarter, broke open a close game.
Muhammad-Rogers completed 15-of-20 passes for 145 yards. He also ran 22 times for 98 yards. Sophomore running back Pat Doyle had 84 yards on 19 carries.
“We had a couple guys out with injuries and some other stuff,” Sheehan said. “We had some young guys step up. But we have to take care of that and a lot of other things this week. There is no doubt we have to clean up the penalties and come out and play hard.”
“Today was an opportunity for young guys to prove themselves,” Muhammad-Rogers said. “We’re going to play better next week for sure. We know we are as good as anybody we’re going to play against all year.”