RICHLANDS, Va.— The Blue Tornado already had the Southwest District title taken care of when the Golden Wave washed into Ernie Hicks Stadium/Emats Field Friday night.

However, the Blue Tornado pride would not allow them to take a night off and took care of business as usual and beat Grundy going away, 54-13.

“Grundy is a heckuva football team and when you play Grundy, you know it’s going to be a battle,” Richlands head coach Greg Mance said. “We made some big plays on special teams and I think this team’s beginning to click at the right time.”

Richlands scored eight touchdowns on the nightm including two punt returns for a score by Austin Johnson in the first and the second half. Running back Devon Johnson led the Blues on the ground with 164 yards on 19 carries with three touchdowns, taking his season total to 1,006.

The Tornado offense split the quarterbacking duties between Cody Johnson and Jack Vance, with the latter leading the passing game with 167 yards completing 10-of-15 passes.

“We split the duties between Cody (Johnson) and Jack (Vance) tonight,” Mance said. “We want to give Jack some experience going into the playoffs and I thought Devon did a good job and made some nice runs.”

Richlands had 425 total offense on the night and held the Wave to 35 on the ground and 178 through the air.

The Richlands defense got the assist on the Tornados’ first score when Albert Fajardo intercepted a Grundy pass inside the 20-yard line before returning inside Grundy’s 15-yard line. Three plays later, Cody Johnson completed a 2-yard pass to Brandon Call for the early lead, 6-0, after the Tornado failed on the extra point.

The Richlands defense forced a punt on Grundy’s next possession and Austin Johnson caught the ball at his own 36-yard line and picked his way through traffic before seeing a gaping hole across midfield. He cut against the grain and took it to the house for a 64-yard touchdown run, however, the extra point failed for the second time in as many tries.

The Wave climbed back into the game on the ensuing kickoff when Tyler Berglowe fielded the ball inside his own 10-yard line and returned it to the Richlands 33-yard line.

Grundy went to work and set up a score after Jon Kelly hit Cody Justus for a 32-yard pass to the Tornado 1-yard line. Jake McCowan bowled in from the 1-yard line to cut Richlands lead in half on the next play. Skyler Bunker broke through the Grundy line and blocked the extra point attempt keeping the score in check.

The Golden Wave defense gave their offense another opportunity when they stopped the Tornado on the next drive after Dillon O’Quinn picked off a Richlands pass at the Tornado 40-yard line.

However, Albert Fajardo had other ideas and picked off a Grundy pass three yards deep in the Tornado end zone and brought the ball back to the Richlands 9-yard line.

The Blues offense began to click and Vance hit Austin Johnson for a 40-yard pass, then, Devon Johnson had 31 yards on two runs to give the Tornado another first down at Grundy’s 20. Two plays later, Devon Johnson scored on a 5-yard run and this time, Reece Strong nailed the point after to give Richlands a 19-6 lead.

Sean Overton picked off a Grundy pass for the Tornado on the next Wave possession and the Blues used the gift to add to their route when Cody Johnson scored on a 1-yard run and Strong booted the PAT making the score, 26-6.

Grundy didn’t go away quietly and drove the ball down before halftime and scored on a 1-yard run by Kelly. Mutter kicked the point after cutting the Richlands lead to 26-13 through intermission.

The Blues made their half-time adjustments to perfection and came out with 21 points in the third quarter and seven in the fourth unanswered to round out the final scoring.

Richlands’ Devon Johnson scored on runs of eight yards and 25 yards in the third quarter followed by and 83-yard punt return for a touchdown by Austin Johnson who also scored on a 5-yard run in the fourth.

Austin Johnson had five catches for the Tornado for 81 yards and Bradley Strong caught two balls for 63 yards and Justus led Grundy with five receptions for 142 yards and five tackles.

Richlands finished the game with no fumbles or punts and had 18 first downs.

Cody Thomas led the Tornado in tackles with seven with vance and Hunter Brown finishing with four tackles apiece.

The Blues have a bye week in the opening round of the regional playoffs next week and Richlands is unofficially two points ahead of Cave Spring for first place who lost to Hidden Valley 28-21 pending today’s game between Graham and Carroll County.

“We’ll get after it tonight and go good on good,” Mance said. “We’ll have three hard days of practice and hopefully keep the momentum before we get to host here and play in front of the energy of the home crowd.’



At Ernie Hicks Stadium

Grundy.........................................6 7 0 0 — 13

Richlands.................................19 7 21 7 — 54

First quarter

R – Brandon Call 2-yard pass from Cody Johnson (kick no good)

R – Austin Johnson 64-yard punt return (kick no good)

G – Jake McCowan 1-yard run (kick blocked)

R – Devon Johnson 5-yard run (Reece Strong kick)

Second quarter

R – Cody Johnson 1-yard run (Reece Strong kick)

G – John Kelly 1-yard run (Wayne Mutter kick)

Third quarter

R – Devon Johnson 8-yard run (Reece Strong kick)

R – Devon Johsnon 25-yard run (R.Strong kick)

R – Austin Johnson 83-yard punt return (Reece Strong)

Fourth quarter

R – Austin Johnson 4-yard run (Reece Strong kick)

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