PFLUGERVILLE — With the way La Vega rotates its running backs in the game, it can be difficult for any of them to stand out above the rest.
But it was John Richards’ show Friday night.
Richards rushed for 290 yards and three touchdowns on only eight carries, and the Pirates overcame four turnovers in a 47-23 Class 4A Division I bi-district win over Fredericksburg on Friday night at The Pfield.
La Vega rolled up 527 yards of total offense, including 354 on the ground. Fredericksburg managed to stay in the game most of the way despite being limited to 274 yards, many of which came when the game was decided. That’s because the Battlin’ Billies scored on defense and needed 26 yards for one scoring drive and 18 on another.
Richards opened the scoring with a 57-yard touchdown run less than two minutes into the game, then added a 60-yarder later in the first quarter and a 76-yarder late in the second. His fourth long run of the evening went 74 yards and set up Cameron Henry’s second scoring burst of the game from 11 yards out to put the game away, 40-17 with 53 seconds to go in the third quarter.
Jamal Williams also found the end zone through the air from 70 yards to Taequan Tyler and 35 to Jonathan Brown, but he wasn’t nearly as sharp as he was the previous two weeks. Williams fumbled twice, one of which set up a Fredericksburg touchdown and another that was picked up by Cullen Yates and returned for a 45-yard score.
Williams was also intercepted once as the clock wound down in the first half, and that set up the Battlin’ Billes for a 45-yard field goal from Daylon Nebgen as the clock expired to make it a 33-17 Pirate lead at halftime.
The Pirates moved backward on their first drive of the second half, thanks in large part to a snap over Williams’ head on the initial play, but Fredericksburg couldn’t take advantage and missed a 46-yard field goal.
La Vega finally made good on its third possession of the second half with an 89-yard march that was started with Richards’ 74-yard run and ended with Henry’s 11-yarder.
Brown’s 45-yard reception for a score pushed La Vega out to a 47-17 lead, but his fumble later in the fourth quarter was the start of a 95-yard drive to paydirt for Fredericksburg with several La Vega starters looking on from the sideline.
The first of Williams’ fumbles turned into a 1-yard touchdown run from Hobbs Price that capped a 25-yard march and put Fredericksburg in the lead for the only time, 7-6, with 6:56 to go in the opening quarter.
Will Flannery was the starting quarterback for Fredericksburg, but he was benched after throwing interceptions to Donta Stuart and Quintaveon Mason. Brant Bowers threw for 124 yards and a 11-yard TD to Shae Slaughter late in the fourth quarter on a 10-for-19 night.