LEMONT – Lemont did not let a sleeping dog lie in its South Suburban crossover Friday against Richards.
Leading, 14-0, midway through the third quarter, Lemont turned the ball over and gave Richards life. The Bulldogs went on to score 28 points over the final 1½ quarters to stun the Indians, 28-24.
“We have to do a little better at situational football,” Lemont coach Bret Kooi said after Lemont’s first home loss since 2013.
Anthony Quinn’s two-yard touchdown run with 58 seconds left capped the comeback, giving Richards its second win over Lemont in the last six meetings. Lemont (3-1) had won 10 straight home games but turned the ball over twice in the second half.
“That’s what happens when you do those things,” Kooi said. “We’ve done a good job taking care of the football up to this point. We didn’t do that tonight.”
Richards’ three touchdown passes covered 27, 76 and 77 yards before the final 70-yard touchdown drive. Lemont’s final drive ended at its 17.
“We have to be a little smarter in those situations,” Kooi said. “They were down a score, needed a touchdown, and we let somebody get behind us.”
Joseph Kelly’s interception and return to the Richards 17-yard line set up Lemont’s first score. Anthony Martin’s 1-yard run with 8:33 left in the first quarter staked Lemont to a 7-0 lead. Quarterback Spencer Nagel hit Jeremy Fejedelem for a 53-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Brendan Cunningham’s interception came just before the end of the half, securing a 14-0 lead at the intermission. Richards had 12 yards and two first downs in the first half. Lemont, however, turned the ball over twice in the third quarter deep in its territory, giving Richards short fields.
“We have to take care of the football when the momentum’s on our side,” Kooi said. “Defensively, we have to be a little smarter than that. We can’t give up big plays like that. We have to make them earn it.”
The Bulldogs took advantage when Jared Moore caught a 27-yard touchdown pass, cutting the lead to 14-7 with 5:31 left in the third quarter.
Passes to Fejedelem covering 31 and 49 yards each set up short scores. Nagel scored from a yard out and Steve Fleming kicked a 20-yard field goal, giving Lemont a 24-14 lead with 8:36 left. A 77-yard touchdown play by Richards set the stage for the ITS winning drive.
“I told the kids we have to learn from this,” Kooi said. “If we learn from it, there is some type of justification for what happened out there.”
Nagel completed 8 of 17 passes for 189 yards. Jake Kirkman ran 27 times for 122 yards for Lemont.