Ronnie Graham played too well to have his night end with him walking off the field after a fumble.
Thanks to Evans’ defense, the running back returned to action and helped close out the victory.
Graham had 227 of the team’s 236 rushing yards, and the defense forced four turnovers as Evans beat Richmond Academy 21-12 on the road Thursday night.
The Knights have until Sept. 14 to savor the win and get ready for its home opener against AAA Elbert County.
“My defense helped me out, getting back onto the field,” said Graham, who also credited the offensive line for his performance, which included three touchdowns.
His first two scores were impressive.
After Richmond Academy’s C.J. Welcher finished a five-play drive with a 44-yard score on its first offensive series of the game, the Knights got a great kickoff return. Graham needed only one play to tie it, scoring on a 41-yard run.
A quarter later, Graham got the ball on a toss on third-and-long and turned it into an 80-yard touchdown. Once free, Graham cut perfectly to keep himself safe from defenders.
Graham had 129 yards on seven carries in the first half and 98 in the second half.
While the Evans passing game didn’t produce a lot of yards – only seven passing attempts were made – the attention Graham requires and overall strength of the Evans running game may open things up for quarterback Chandler Shoemaker.
Neither squad passed for more than 50 yards. Two different Musketeers quarterbacks threw interceptions and following Welcher’s touchdown, Richmond Academy was quiet except for a short drive after intercepting Shoemaker.
Welcher made it 14-12 on a 2-yard run in the third quarter.
The Musketeers wouldn’t score again, putting up only 163 yards of offense.
“Really, we’re just trying to get 11 people to the football,” Evans coach Marty Jackson said. “Eleven people to the football overcomes a lot of issues.”
Quarterbacks Thomas Allison and Tony Daggett tried to get the Musketeers going – Welcher’s rushing stats for the second half showed him in the red by one yard after getting 90 in the first – but instead each threw two interceptions in the game.
“Last year we lost the first two and we turned out OK,” Richmond Academy coach Chris Hughes said.
“Turnovers killed us – they put us in a bad spot every time.”