By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
The Anderson football team's hopes died of familiar causes in Friday night's North Central Conference opener at Collier Field.
There were too many missed opportunities on offense, too many big plays allowed on defense and special teams and too few points at the end. It all added up to a 48-26 loss against Richmond and an 0-3 start to the season for the Tribe.
Red Devils sophomore Jordan Christian completed 13 of 20 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns in his first varsity start at quarterback. Christian threw scoring strikes of 50 yards to John Holland and 74 yards to Matt Morrow in the first half, but the visitors led just 20-12 at halftime.
Anderson actually could have been in the lead had it capitalized on a pair of takeaways and finished drives. The Tribe advanced at least to Richmond's 20-yard line on four possessions in the opening half but scored just six points on those drives.
Indians quarterback Gaven Owens was intercepted at the 2-yard line to end one possession. Another opportunity was squandered after a botched snap on a field-goal attempt, and the third ended when Anderson simply ran out of downs.
Owens did factor in each of the Tribe's first-half scores, throwing a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Chapman in the first quarter and diving in from 1 yard out on a quarterback keeper in the second.
Owens finished 10-of-25 for 209 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Chapman caught four of those balls for 127 yards and all three scores.
Chapman's second touchdown came on a 23-yard pass on fourth-and-11 early in the third quarter. It answered Treylin Sanders' 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half and cut the Tribe's deficit to 28-18.
But the Indians didn't threaten again until late in the game.
Jailen Hampton stole momentum back for the Red Devils (2-1, 1-0 NCC) with a 51-yard interception return for a touchdown with 7:29 to play in the third quarter, and Christian essentially put the game away with a 20-yard scoring pass to Tyler Ripperger just 51 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Richmond called off the dogs and put in many of its subs after that possession, but Owens and Chapman made things interesting one final time with a 79-yard catch-and-run with just 3:43 to play in the game.
Anderson's onside kick cleared the first line of the Red Devils' receiving team before Holland made a leaping grab to claim possession.
The Tribe used all of its timeouts and forced a three-and-out to regain the ball. A 13-yard punt gave the Indians the ball at their own 40-yard line, and they had one final chance to get back into the game.
But Arinze Ekwealor intercepted a third down pass at the Indians' 47 and returned it 32 yards to the 15.
One play later, backup quarterback Josh Thalls tossed a touchdown pass to Michi Davis for the final score.
The Indians travel to Logansport to continue conference play next week.