Saturday, November 13, 1999

Gallia 47, New Richmond 12

Lions' best season ends at 9-3

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — New Richmond's surprising season ended with a thud Friday night — a 47-12 loss to Gallia Academy — but the Lions knew they had done something no team in school history had done: Get to the playoffs, and even win a game.

        “Hard end to a great season,” junior quarterback Matt Armbruster said. “It'll take us a few days to get over this one. We can't be too upset, though. We had a great season.”

        It's hard for a run-oriented team to play catch-up football.

        That's what New Richmond faced after falling behind early in its Division III high school playoff game at Portsmouth's Spartan Memorial Stadium.

        Gallia was ahead 14-0 just 5:40 into it.

        The Lions, who finish 9-3, did not throw a pass until three minutes remained in the first half. Plagued by poor field position, New Richmond stayed with its running offense but had little success until late in the half when it trailed 21-0.

        Facing a third-and-10 from the Gallia 17-yard line, sophomore John McMonigle took a pitch from Armbruster and raced around the left side to the end zone.

        But this is the kind of night it was for New Richmond: On its extra-point attempt, a bad snap forced kicker Ray Seng to throw a conversion pass that was intercepted. It was 21-6 with 1:12 to go before halftime.

        Then Gallia's Cody Lane — who had caught a 33-yard touchdown pass with 3:32 left in the second quarter — ran the kickoff back 77 yards for a TD. The Blue Devils' conversion failed, and their lead was 27-6 at intermission.

        “That just killed us,” New Richmond coach Ron Bird said.

        The third quarter was disastrous for the Lions. “I thought it was never going to end,” Bird said.

        Facing a fourth-and-10 from its own 20, New Richmond tried a fake punt, and Mike McCormick's pass was incomplete. Two plays later, Gallia scored on a 13-yard Bobby Jones TD run.

        “We were just grasping for straws and trying to get something going,” Bird said of the fake.

        On its next possession, New Richmond's McMonigle fumbled inside his own 40. Five plays later, Gallia scored again, this time on a 3-yard run by Ike Simmons.

        It was a rout at 41-6.

        “They're pretty good,” said McMonigle, who caught a 57-yard TD pass with 8:39 to play. “They capitalized on our few mistakes and there really wasn't any coming back.

        “I didn't know we were going to be this good (this season). Our whole team has a lot of heart. We're really close to each other, and we work hard. We never quit.”

        Gallia Academy (9-2) advances to face Chaminade-Julienne in the regional finals.

        New Richmond ....... 0   6   0  6—12

        Gallia Academy ....... 14  13  14  6—47

        G—Rothgeb 41 pass from Payton (Payton kick)

        G—Rothgeb 74 punt return (Payton kick)

        G—Lane 33 pass from Payton (Payton kick)

        N—McMonigle 17 run (conversion failed)

        G—Lane 77 kickoff return (conversion failed)

        G—Jones 13 run (conversion failed)

        G—Simmons 3 run (Payton run)

        G—Mitchell 1 run (conversion failed)

        N—McMonigle 57 pass from Armbruster (conversion failed)


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