“I’ve got stronger legs now, and I’ve got­ten faster. I’ve got­ten bet­ter with ev­ery­thing.”

Daily Southtown (Sunday) - - Sports -

All the work Richards’ Leshon Williams put in over the off­sea­son was planned with the pur­pose of pre­par­ing for a deep playoff run.

“We went out in the first round last year, and no­body wants their sea­son to end that way,” Williams said. “That mo­ti­vated me to want to im­prove­my­self.

“I’ve got stronger legs now, and I’ve got­ten faster. I’ve got­ten bet­ter with ev­ery­thing.”

The ju­nior run­ning back showed all of that Fri­day night, rush­ing for 259 yards and three touch­downs on just 13 car­ries as the host Bull­dogs rolled to a 49-0 win overRock Is­land in a Class 6A first-round game.

It’s the first playoff win since 2015 for Richards (10-0), which will host Yorkville (8-2) in the sec­ond round.

Williams ran for TDs of 19, 8 and 54 yards — all in the first quar­ter — as Richards scored on its first five pos­ses­sions against Rock Is­land (5-5) and took a 35-0 lead into half­time.

“Iwanted to run hard and show them we’re phys­i­cal,” Williams said. “I feel like I have one of the best of­fen­sive lines in the state of Illi­nois. They make things easy on me.”

Richards coach Tony Shee­han said Williams de­serves plenty of praise.

“He’ll credit his line, which he should, but he’s a spe­cial back,” Shee­han said. “He­worked hard in theweight roomto get stronger so he could carry the load, and that’s what he’s do­ing for us.

“He has great vi­sion and great speed, and he’s not afraid to lower his shoul­der, ei­ther.”

Tr­ishawn Lott ran for 62 yards and two TDs for Richards, while Se­bas­tian Cas­tro fin­ished with 80 yards and a TD.

As im­pres­sive as the Bull­dogs’ of­fense was, the de­fense was just — Leshon­Wil­liams, Richards ju­nior RB

as good.

Richards out­gained the Rocks 505-15. Rock Is­land had 29 plays go for 1 yard or less, in­clud­ing 11 for neg­a­tive yardage.

The Rocks’ long­est gain was 8 yards.

“We pride our­selves on stop­ping the run,” Shee­han said. “We geared up for it all week. Rock Is­land’s of­fen­sive line is huge, but our kids have worked harder to get big­ger and stronger be­cause that’s where we kind of got pushed around last year.”

Se­nior line­backer Danny Jack­son had two sacks to lead a dom­i­nant de­fen­sive ef­fort.

“We came out to play tough and phys­i­cal, play fast, close the gaps,” Jack­son said. “We had a lot of mo­ti­va­tion. Those first-round losses the last two years didn’t feel good.

“We want to have a long sea­son this year.”

SteveMil­lar is a free­lance reporter for the Daily South­town.


Richards’ Leshon Williams finds a seam for a touch­down against Rock Is­land dur­ing a Class 6A first-round playoff game Fri­day.

Richards’ Mar­quel Porter tucks the ball away against Rock Is­land on Fri­day. Richards out­gained the Rocks 505-15.

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