The Hercules Titans handed the Richmond Oilers yet another crippling loss Friday night, 38-6 in Hercules.
Both teams featured run-heavy offenses but it was the Oilers who had a harder time containing the Titans running game. The Oilers managed to march down the field on the majority of their drives, but stalled often in Titans’ territory.
“We’ve been able to run the ball all year,” said Offensive Coordinator Clyde Byrd. “We gotta grow up, we shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Richmond’s only score came midway through the second quarter. Quarterback Marrico Williams dropped back to pass for the first time in the night. He looked to his left and lobbed the ball to the corner of the end zone to wide receiver Deshawn Clark, who leaped up over his defender for the reception. The Titans blocked the extra point attempt. Despite that, the coaches and players were excited to put points on the board.
“Get you some water baby!” said Marrico’s mother Nancy as he stepped off the field.
On the next drive, the Oilers defense stepped up but a costly offsides penalty allowed the Titans to earn a first down, which led to a touchdown.
Byrd and Head Coach Tashaka Merriweather objected to the call and vented their frustration.
“If we know who the referees are rooting for, can we end the game?” Merriweather yelled. “We’ll play through this.”
With just over a minute left before halftime, Byrd turned to Merriweather.
“I’m just gonna run the ball and run the clock out,” he said.
The horn sounded for halftime with Richmond down 28-6. The players looked dejected and frustration mounted as they marched to huddle by the end zone.
“We can’t worry about the score,” Byrd told his players. “If we keep running the ball, we can sneak a pass and score. We cannot take a play off.”
The defense improved in the second half, allowing only 10 points. And Clark continued to provide spark to lift the spirits of the team for a moment. He snagged an interception early in the fourth quarter.
But it was not much help as the Titans forced a turnover on downs on the next drive.
The tempo of the game slowed down as the clock ran out, eliminating any chance of the Oilers putting more points on the board.
The game ended, the players shook hands and they started to walk toward the bus.
Clark walked across the field, gripping his helmet with his left hand. A young boy named Trevon Foggy walked with him.
“You got any [scholarship] letters?” said Trevon, whose brother Lamonte plays for the Oilers.
“No, but they’ll come in,” Clark replied.
Clark said the catch was his third touchdown, and the fourth-quarter play his seventh interception, of the season.
“Deshawn played with a lot of heart,” Merriweather said. “If I could get a lot more guys to play around him, I think we will be in a better position.”