Travis Richards would have none of it.
When asked how he was able to gain 210 yards on 22 carries and score five touchdowns and a two-point conversion during the Pillager Huskies’ 37-14 win over Bagley Sept. 14, the running back replied:
“My offensive line is awesome,” said the senior captain. “They’re awesome kids. It’s like a family out here. All of us, we’re all on the same page. Us, the coaches, all the players, we’re just giving 100 percent every day. I’m so blessed to have these guys and to be running behind the line that I have.”
When asked about hitting the weight room and training almost every day to prepare for this season, the three-year starter said:
“It paid off, but it wasn’t just me in that weight room,” Richards said. “I had my teammates with me all the way. We all worked together. We all had the same goal, which was to get better for this season. It was nothing I really did. I owe a lot to my teammates.”
When asked about his 118 yards and two touchdowns Aug. 7 against Blackduck, which helped Pillager win 70-28: “It’s awesome to win,” said Richards. “Everyone is in a good mood. We’re trying to take it one game at a time. We really want to go far in the playoffs. As long as we’re on the same page, we’re going to be good.”
Richards deflects any credit for his part in helping the Pillager Huskies to a 2-1 start like he deflects would-be tacklers. Here’s the real story about Richards.
“Travis is the leader,” said Pillager head coach Lowell Scearcy. “He’s one of the captains. He’s one of the leaders the other kids look to. He is an avid weightlifter. That is really showing up this year with his ability to run through tackles.
“He’s our leading tackler. We moved him from linebacker to defensive end and he’s done a real nice job of turning everything in and getting to the quarterback.”
Richards scored on runs of 5, 3 and 29 yards in the first half and added scoring runs of 22 and 6 in the second half in Pillager’s win over Bagley.
Last season, Richards finished with 564 yards and seven touchdowns on 99 carries. He added 10 catches for 122 yards and totalled 74 tackles, seven sacks and one fumble recovery from his linebacker position.
The move to defensive end was to help get as many of Pillager’s top players on the field at once.
“Both of our defensive ends from last year graduated and we had several kids that I thought could do a good job at linebacker,” said Scearcy. “I mentioned the idea to Travis and he was all for it. We put him at defensive end to get as much pressure as we could on the quarterback and it’s looking like a solid move so far.”
But Richards will not take any of the credit.
“It’s just everyone out here working together,” said Richards. “I wouldn’t want to be on any other team. We have awesome players. We have awesome coaches and I wouldn’t want to be playing anywhere else.”
Other notable performances:
Football: Dakota Finck, Verndale, rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns against Bertha-Hewitt.
Dillon Card, Verndale, finished with 80 yards rushing and two touchdowns and threw for 96 yards and a touchdown against Bertha-Hewitt.
Zack Olander, Crosby-Ironton, rushed for 211 yards and two touchdowns against Pine City.
Daniel Hudrlik, Crosby-Ironton, caught two passes for 39 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 78 yards and two touchdowns and returned a punt 79 yards for another score against Pine City.
Drey Loge, Pine River-Backus, rushed for 74 yards and two touchdowns and returned a punt 56 yards for a touchdown and a kickoff 80 yards for a score against Cass Lake-Bena.
Jeff Flickinger, Pillager, rushed for 149 yards against Bagley.
Josh Lanners, Pierz, rushed for 230 yards and four touchdowns against Howard Lake-Waverly.
Nathan Athman, Pierz, rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns against Howard Lake-Waverly.