Richmond adds to Bulldog QB legacy with MVP honors

Times Record Staff
Greenwood quarterback L.D. Richmond leaps for the first down in the first quarter against Lake Hamilton, Saturday, Dec. 5, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

L.D. Richmond was aware of the high expectations and standards bestowed on him going into the season.

That's what comes from being the starting quarterback of the Greenwood Bulldogs, following in the footsteps of legendary players like Daniel Stegall, Tyler Wilson and Connor Noland.

"It was a lot of pressure, but I've got the best coaches in Arkansas," Richmond said. "They will set you up so perfect and they make it easy on you."

For the most part, it was a smooth transition for Richmond, a senior. And he saved his best for last in his final game as a Bulldog.

After a shaky start in Saturday's 6A state championship game, Richmond and the Bulldogs settled down. He directed five consecutive drives that ended in touchdowns, allowing Greenwood to turn a 10-0 deficit into a 35-10 lead.

Richmond also accounted for 268 yards of total offense, including throwing for three first-half touchdowns, as Greenwood captured its 10th state title in program history with a 49-24 win against Lake Hamilton at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium, capping a 14-0 season.

And Richmond cemented his own place among the Bulldog quarterbacking greats by being named the game's Most Valuable Player during the post-game ceremony.

"We came out and we game-planned and we put a bunch of new (pass) plays in so we could get a big play and get some momentum going and we executed them well and our guys made plays," Richmond - named the Times Record's Athlete of the Week - said.

Richmond finished the game completing 11-of-14 passes for 178 yards and the three first-half TDs. He threw all but one pass for 172 of those yards in the opening half.

For the game, Richmond also added 90 yards rushing on 17 carries.

On Greenwood's first offensive series, with the Bulldogs already trailing 10-0, they were forced to punt.

Greenwood's defense eventually held and forced the Wolves to punt the ball right back to the Bulldogs.

"We told (the defense) when they came off the sidelines, we told them, 'We've got you guys; the offense is about to get hot and we'll get going and y'all will be all right,'" Richmond said. "They trusted us and we went out and we did our thing."

Greenwood got on track with a 15-play, 80-yard drive, ending with a 7-yard TD toss from Richmond to Caden Brown.

Earlier on that drive, the Bulldogs faced a fourth-and-1 at the Lake Hamilton 37. They went for it, and Richmond took the ball on a sneak and dived forward.

He ended up going over both teams' lines and landed hard on the turf, momentarily shaking Richmond up. But he got Greenwood the first down to keep the drive going, and Richmond quickly waved off any medical attention, getting right back into the huddle.

"I was just going to jump on top of their pile and get across and I jumped and there was nobody there," Richmond said. "So I just kind of hit the ground and took a shot on that one; that one kind of hurt."

Later in the game, while taking a keeper, Richmond was flipped high into the air. But again, he was all right and went back to work.

"The guys always tell me all the time, 'Would you quit flipping?'" Richmond said. "They're just scared I'm going to get hurt and stuff all of the time, but you've got to do what you've got to do."

Richmond put Greenwood in front to stay with a deep pass to Luke Brewer, covering 39 yards.

The two later hooked up again in the final seconds of the first half, giving the Bulldogs a knockout punch.

After Greenwood held Lake Hamilton on downs with 51 seconds remaining, the Bulldogs took over at their own 17.

Originally, they appeared content to run out the clock. But a pair of runs gave Greenwood coach Chris Young an idea.

So he relayed the news to Richmond, who proceeded to throw a long pass to a streaking Brewer. Brewer caught the pass in stride and raced in for a 71-yard TD with seven ticks left on the clock, allowing Greenwood to build a 21-10 advantage.

"When we were running the ball, I figured they just thought we were going to run it out," Richmond said. "And (Young) calls for a fade route and I was like, 'Whoa, let's get it.'

"So I saw we had our guy pressed up over there and Luke is (a great) athlete, he can get open on anybody, so I just dropped back and just let it fly and he went and got it."

The Bulldogs kept adding to their lead in the third quarter, and Richmond and the team were able to celebrate a state title.

And Richmond was able to make a name for himself, as a Greenwood quarterback who guided his team to one of those championships.

He stopped short of putting himself among the list of names like Wilson and Noland, two eventual University of Arkansas signal-callers.

"I wouldn't compare myself to those guys at all; those guys were athletes," Richmond said. "But to be there in the (conversation) with them; them guys were my role models. I love them guys like my brothers and it's awesome."