Heading into this clash between two North Central Conference (NCC) rivals, Richmond and Muncie Central, both were desperately looking to flip the script on their seasons. The Bearcats were winless on the season up to this point, and the Red Devils weren’t too far ahead with just one win.
From the moment toe met leather it was easy to tell who had the upper hand. The Bearcats came out fired up, hunting down their first win of the season, and the emotion surrounding the home team was palpable.
The determination on the field for the Bearcats was noticeable from the opening drive, cruising down the field to a touchdown run from senior quarterback Leo Boyd, who led the way for Muncie Central and helped the purple and black jump out to an early 14-0 lead.
“Leo [has] been a great leader for us,” sophomore running back Dae’cion Echols said. “He’s always keeping the team together and never giving up on us, on or off the field.”
The first half was a Boyd highlight reel, and not just as the quarterback. He was doing it all, with five total touchdowns on the night.
He was scrambling out of the pocket for long runs, evading tacklers and even returning punts as some icing on the cake.
Head coach Kyle Padgett had high praise for the senior quarterback’s performance.
“Tonight he went off, and I’m really proud of him because he’s worked his butt off to do this. You reap the rewards from your efforts,” Padgett said.
Despite Boyd’s efforts, Richmond wasn’t going to be put away easily. On its best drive of the contest, the Red Devils moved down the field with relative ease by relying on sophomore running back Lewis Alexander to punch in a touchdown to close the early gap at 21-14.
Early in the 2nd quarter, Richmond threw the first punch converting on a third and 25 for a 50-yard connection to senior Haviaire Lapsley to put the game to within one score.
However, this was the last of the Red Devils’ offense, as Muncie Central would proceed to blow the game open and dominate on the ground. While most of the brunt work came on the shoulders of Boyd, Echols and fellow sophomore Marquis Allen also pitched in a touchdown on the ground as well.
The Bearcats never looked back after half time, as they took a commanding 49-21 lead as the clock struck zero. Boyd elaborated on how it was a whole team effort to have as much success as they did running the ball.
“This week we’d been doing a lot of work in the chute with the O-Line,” Boyd said. “Our receivers [are] working on their stalk blocks, and the wings too. When they just all come together as one it’s amazing.”
The pride of the Bearcats was on the line in this game coming in 0-5 on the season and looking to duplicate what they were able to muster in 2022. Last season, Muncie Central beat Richmond for its first win of the season and proceeded to go on a four-game win streak to close the season, finishing with a 4-6 overall record and a 4-3 NCC record.
“Our schedule is very top heavy as far as competition goes,” Padgett said. “We know we can get out and compete to win these next three games and take that momentum into sectionals”
The first step towards continuing their momentum starts in Muncie Central's road matchup against the Marion Giants (2-4) next Friday, Sept. 29.
Contact David Moore with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on X @gingninj63.