Richfield held the advantage until late in the third quarter against 5A Payson during non-region football action Friday night on the Wildcats’ home field.
However, Payson was able to take the win in the final portion of the game, 17-7.
The defensive slog began with Payson receiving the opening kick, and running a 13-play series. The ’Cat defense stalled the 50-yard drive out at its own 38-yardline, resulting in a punt.
Brittyn Riddle got his first chance at the ball from the ’Cats’ own 14-yard line — shuttling it nine yards.
Quarterback Gavin Brown took the next two carries, earning the ’Cats a first down. Kasey Giddings also took a turn.
Brown and Riddle continued working the series, but a Lion interception cut it short.
Payson kept the ball through the rest of the first stanza, but eventually had to boot it away. The teams traded punts back and forth until Richfield got ahold of the ball on its own 25-yard line.
It looked like another four-play series until, on a fake out play, Riddle was able to break through the defense and set Richfield up with a first down on the 42-yard line. Giddings then escorted the ball across midfield.
Brown inched the ball up again, followed by a connecting pass to Giddings on a third down play.
The pass put Richfield just 18 yards from the pay dirt. Riddle was then able to again bust through and set the ’Cats up on 4-yard line.
Brown transported it the rest of the way. After the PAT by Kordell Morgan, the ’Cats were up 7-0 with 2:34 left in the half.
Payson’s next series lasted 12 plays, and burned up the remaining clock on the half. The Lions booted in a field goal with 2 seconds left in the half, bringing the break time score to 7-3 in favor of Richfield.
Coming back onto the field, the teams punted to each other six times before Payson’s Braxton Perez sneaked past the ’Cats’ defense to get a 30-yard TD. With 1:10 to go in the third period, Richfield was down 10-7.
The next series for Richfield stalled near midfield, and Payson began a new march on its own 16-yard line.
It took 15 plays, but the Lions were finally able to punch the ball in thanks to a 1-yard rumble by Logan Wride — giving Payson a 10-point advantage.
Richfield’s next series saw the ’Cats get within 10 yards of the end zone, but it was cut short by an interception.
The ’Cats are now 2-1 and are set to host North Sanpete Friday, Sept. 6. The Hawks have been ranked in second place among 3A football teams this year, and are at 3-0. North Sanpete opened its year with a 7-6 thriller against Grantsville. The Hawks also picked off Emery 43-6, and are coming off a 52-0 win against South Sevier.