Richlands, Radford clash for first time in 47 years

Radford (4-0) at Richlands (1-3)

It’s been a long while since the Bobcats and Blue Tornado met on the gridiron.

Richard Nixon was the president of the United States. Eight presidents have called the White House home since these two versions of RHS met on the gridiron.

The November 17, 1972 matchup holds two places in Richlands High School history.

The matchup 47 years ago marked the first time the Blue Tornado clinched a playoff berth. 

However, by the end of the night, Jim Hammond’s squad etched itself into the record book for the wrong reason. Radford went on to win the contest 62-0 over Richlands at Mitchell Stadium that day. The 62-deficit is the worst loss in the history of Blue Tornado football. 

Radford finished 1972 with a 13-0 record on its second consecutive state championship under Norman Lineburg. 

Fast-forward to 2019 and the Bobcats march into battle with the Blues once again with a 0 in the loss column. 

Despite season ending injuries to P.J. Prioleau and Justice Marshall, the Bobcats have not missed a beat. Quarterback Zane Rupe and tailback Darius Wesley-Brubeck have picked up the slack for Radford. 

In last week’s 42-0 blanking of Three Rivers District rival Giles, Brubeck rushed for three touchdowns to set the pace for the Bobcats. 

In Matthew Saunders’ 13th season at the helm, the Bobcats have had no problem getting out to a 4-0 start. In addition to last week’s victory over Giles, Radford fhas found the win column against George Wythe, Fort Chiswell and Gretna. 

Richlands has crept out to a 1-3 start in 2019. The Blue Tornado comes into its fifth game after a 52-38 loss to Bluefield at Mitchell Stadium a week ago. 

Richlands quarterback Cade Simmons performed well in the loss as he threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns. Sage Webb was his favorite target on the afternoon. Webb, the Richlands sophomore, hauled in five receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown to go along with a 95-yard kickoff return that went for a touchdown. 

The Blues lone win came two weeks ago in a 31-21 triumph over Abingdon. That win marked Richlands head coach Greg Mance’s 200th at the helm of the Blue Tornado.

Richlands looks to avoid falling to 1-4 for the first time since 2017 while Radford looks to extend to 5-0 for the first time since 2002. 

There is no doubt that Ernie Hicks Stadium will be packed to the brim on Friday night when two of southwest Virginia’s most storied programs meet for battle. 



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