RICHLAND – On fourth-and-1, Bishop Sankey was stonewalled at the line of scrimmage but he kept his legs churning to surge past the line, then he ran through a tackle and suddenly he was in the end zone after a 57-yard sprint right there.
That was the game right there. Not because that score produced a Gonzaga Prep win but because the Richland defense forced the Bullpups to take that kind of risk on the fourth play of the second half.
For the most part the Bombers contained Sankey and the Bullpups had nothing else to offer, losing 21-7 in the 4A football play-in game at Fran Rish Stadium on Friday night.
“They just contained us well,” Sankey said. “We couldn’t get anything going in the first half. They’re kind of similar to Ferris last week, they flow to the ball real well and try to keep everything in front of them.”
Which should make next weekend’s game at Albi Stadium between the Bombers (9-1) and the Saxons (10-0) interesting. Richland held Sankey to 149 yards on 33 carries and the combination of Jake McKinney and B.K. Robinson had 197 yards on 35.
“It was tough,” Prep coach Dave McKenna said. “They’re a good football team. They’re physical, they play hard and they’re well-coached. Yards were hard to come by.”
Sankey’s 34th touchdown of the season pulled the Pups within 13-7 but the Bombers answered with a 10-play, 77-yard drive that, with their defense, effectively decided the game.
After a scoreless first quarter the Bullpups (7-3) handed the Bombers the first touchdown when Sankey muffed a punt the home team recovered on the 20. On third-and-4 Colter Quick surprised Prep by hitting wide-open tight end Jared Turner in the end zone.
Quick completed just two of six passes for 16 yards, all in the first half.
Richardson replaced McKinney on Richland’s next possession and ripped off runs of 21, 1, 3 and 36 yards. The last featured an explosive cut on a sweep left and a touchdown for the 13-0 lead.
“I was pleased with our defense,” McKenna said. “They were solid but when McKinney goes out and Richardson comes in, we didn’t adjust to his speed very well.”
McKinney had 113 yards on 20 carries without touching the ball in the fourth quarter. He opened the game with a 20-yard run and had 32 on his first of the second half, which helped answer the Prep score, his final carry being a 6-yard scoring run. The killer play was a 23-yard scramble by Quick on third-and-13 from midfield. Richardson had 84 yards on 14 carries.
Sankey, who rushed for almost 2,400 coming in, had 55 yards on 18 carries in the first half with a long of 11. His longest in the second half other than the TD was seven. Quarterback Shane Schmidlkofer ran five times for 17 yards in the first half and the passing game produced two completions for 5 yards and an interception in seven attempts. With a misplayed ball losing 17 yards, the team combined for 2 yards to tack onto Sankey’s 149.
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