MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

October 7, 2012

PLAYER OF THE WEEK/HONOR ROLL Week 6: Performance has Porter coach muttering to himself

— Having missed his entire junior season because of knee surgery, Porter’s Jacob Richardson thinks he’s starting to hit his stride.

That’s understating it a bit considering his numbers in last Friday’s 58-51 loss to  District A-8 unbeaten Summit Christian.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior rushed for 375 yards and six touchdowns. The monumental effort just wasn’t enough for the Pirates  to pull off the upset in falling to 1-5 on the season.

He did it as part of a rotation at both tailback and quarterback. It’s a mix that had his head coach, Ron Coppedge, re-evaluating.

“We’ve had him full-time at strong safety and he comes in at quarterback to run our zone read but we’ve had to give him some breaks on that side of the ball,” Coppedge said.

It hit home on a 60-yard scoring run in the second quarter.

“I thought to myself, ‘I must be stupid,’” Coppedge said. “We have to rest him but they simply couldn’t tackle him. He really needs to be at tailback.”

Richardson was the quarterback after Summit Christian struck on back-to-back drives, aided by an successful onside kick and getting the two-point conversion on the final TD with under three minutes to play. With Summit guarding against the run, Coppedge opted to let Richardson strike through the air.

“We had a drop and then he tried to force one that they picked off,” Coppedge said. “We were up against the clock and we asked him to do some things he just hasn’t done. He really hasn’t thrown the ball much.”

Nor has he  scampered anywhere near the way he did Friday night. The younger brother of former Muskogee High standout Pete Richardson, who went on to play at Texas Tech as a defensive back before finishing at Harding University, had yet to break 100 yards this season.

“I’m just now beginning to feel comfortable,” he said. “I got the ball a whole lot last night and I got to where I felt in a rhythm.

"Watching them on film, they had a great passing game and I thought we’d have trouble defending it, but at the same time I thought we could have some success running against them because other teams had."

The surgery last season dealt with cartilage removal, something he wanted to get done and over in time for basketball, where he won his second consecutive All-Phoenix MVP last season.

Richardson, Coppedge and company have seen both the A-8 co-leaders, having lost to Warner 40-6.  Those two teams meet in Broken Arrow this Friday and both Coppedge and Richardson give the edge to Warner for one primary reason.

"They’re definitely more physical," Richardson said.

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