Two-way star

Ri­ley’s big plays rally Richards past Yorkville

Daily Southtown (Sunday) - - SPORTS - By Steve Mil­lar

Richards’ Wal­ter Ri­ley was side­lined for a good por­tion of the sec­ond half Fri­day night due to cramps. When Ri­ley was on the field, though, he made it count.

Ri­ley, a se­nior re­ceiver/safety, had a 43-yard touch­down catch and a key in­ter­cep­tion to spark the host Bull­dogs to a 35-21 come­back win over Yorkville in a Class 6A sec­ond-round game.

“We were down and coach (Tony Shee­han) said some­one had to make a big play,” Ri­ley said. “It had to be me. I had the big touch­down, started cramp­ing and came out, but when I got back in I got the in­ter­cep­tion. We knew it­was our game af­ter that.”

Richards (11-0) will take on Nor­malWest in the­quar­ter­fi­nals.

Yorkville (8-3) led 14-7 at half­time be­hind quar­ter­back Josh Beetham, who­com­pleted 14 of 27 passes for266­yards andtwo TDs.

“We knew Richards was so phys­i­cal and ath­letic up front, so we knew we had to take some deep shots,” Yorkville coach Dan McGuire said. “Josh threw some great balls and we made some good things hap­pen.”

The Foxes, though, mis­han- dled the sec­ond-half kick­off and Richards kicker Se­bas­tian Lasak re­cov­ered it. Two plays later, Ri­ley caught the 43-yardTD­pass fromMar­quel Porter.

Ri­ley later in­ter­cepted a Beetham pass and re­turned it 25 yards to the Yorkville 15, set­ting up Leshon Wil­liams’ 5-yard TD run on the first play of the fourth quar­ter. That put the Bull­dogs ahead for good, 28-21.

The big plays were es­pe­cially mean­ing­ful for Ri­ley, who missed all of last sea­son with a torn ACL andMCLin his left knee.

“I thank God, my trainer and

doc­tor,” Ri­ley said. “I’ve got the best coach­ing staff in the state and all those guys helped push me and get me through that in­jury.”

Se­bas­tian Cas­tro, who ran for 121 yards on 15 car­ries, sealed the win for the Bull­dogs with a 13-yard TD run with 2:25 to go and an in­ter­cep­tion on the en­su­ing Yorkville pos­ses­sion.

Wil­liams ran for 154 yards and three TDs on 23 car­ries.

“We haven’t been tested in a long time,” Wil­liams said. “Our de­fense has been so good and they needed to knowthey can be scored on. We re­sponded, andthis gives us a lot of con­fi­dence go­ing into the next round.”

Nico Medrano had seven catches for 139 yards and twoTDs forYorkville.

“Nico made some great catches,” McGuire said.

Steve Mil­lar is a free­lance re­porter for the Daily South­town.

GARY MID­DEN­DORF/DAILY SOUTH­TOWN

Richards’Wal­ter Ri­ley re­turns an in­ter­cep­tion against Yorkville dur­ing the Class 6A play­offs Fri­day.

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