Riley’s big plays rally Richards past Yorkville
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.
Richards’Walter Riley returns an interception against Yorkville during the Class 6A playoffs Friday.