BY TIM SULLIVAN
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The end zone has lost its novelty to Richard Hall. He has been there too often to believe it a big deal. He avoids touchdown rituals in favor of routine, flipping the ball casually to the referee and leaving the choreography to the cheerleaders.
Richard Hall has 111 TDs after scoring four against Indian Hill Friday night.
(Stephen M. Herppich photo)
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In a football world increasingly dominated by self-indulgence, the Wyoming touchdown machine is a study in understatement.
"Dancing is for the dance floor," Hall said. "When you come out on the grass, on the field, there's nowhere to have a party. The party is on the scoreboard."
In the long history of Porkopolis pigskins, no man has made more scoreboards merry than Richard Hall. Friday night, in a 41-13 victory over Indian Hill, Wyoming's senior tailback scored four times, padding his personal touchdown total to 111.
It was a heady achievement, but one unlikely to impact Hall's helmet size. He runs with a gymnast's balance and a Ginsu knife's cutting ability. Yet perhaps the most impressive thing about him is how unimpressed he is with himself.
When he scored touchdown No. 108 on Friday night -- a 90-yard sprint on his first scrimmage play -- Hall did not immediately sense its significance.
"When I got in the end zone, I dropped the ball," he said. "The ref came over and said, "This is yours.' "
The ball was to be presented to Hall's mother, Marian, who was hospitalized Thursday night. His reward was a sideline hug from Snow, the deposed record-holder. Three touchdowns later, Richard Hall still claimed that the league championship was the highlight of his evening.
"What do I like best about him?" Marian Hall said Thursday evening of her son. "He's humble. He's very modest. He doesn't get the big head when people say that he should."
Marian Hall has seen to that. She has raised the area's top running back as a single mom, and has kept him tethered to a tight leash. When he broke away from a tangle of bodies last week, Hall's sister -- also named Marian -- said her brother ran as he had as a small boy, "when he thought he was going to get a whuppin'."
Grew into stardom
Richard Hall may be the biggest man on the Wyoming campus -- a two-sport star bound for big-time college football -- but in his grandfather's green house on Crosley Avenue he is known simply as Sand Man.
"If you closed your eyes," his mother explained, "he was gone."
Sometimes, one glimpse of Richard Hall is all you get. Wyoming coach Bernie Barre, told of Hall's talent, went out to scout the player when he turned up on Wyoming's eighth-grade team. Barre watched Hall return a punt for a touchdown, but before the game was two minutes old, the phenom had broken an ankle and was lost for the season.
Hall played a slot position as a Wyoming freshman, and still seemed so frail the following fall that Barre questioned the wisdom of moving him to tailback.
"I wasn't sure he was big enough," he said. "He was really skinny. I just didn't know if he was going to last. But he was just amazing. He scored five touchdowns against Hamilton-Badin. Hamilton-Badin is too good to do that."
Hall played then at 170 pounds. He is pushing 200 pounds today, and inclined to trample opponents he once tried to elude. Four weeks ago, he scored five touchdowns against Finneytown -- in the first quarter. The following Friday, he had six touchdowns against Taylor.
"I run off instinct," he said. "John Madden said great backs have vision, not speed. I always use that when a coach says, "You got caught by a linebacker.' "
It is rare that Richard Hall must resort to excuses. He has averaged better than nine yards per carry this fall, and is closing in on a second 2,000-yard season. Should Wyoming advance in the state tournament, Hall might still have a shot at Hubert Bobo's state record of 132 touchdowns, set for defunct Chauncey-Dover High between 1953 and 1956.
"Who knows what can happen?" Hall said. "I never want to say I can't do it."
Enquirer columnist Tim Sullivan welcomes your E-mail. Message him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hall's record night