How demoralizing must it be to know exactly what’s coming and be unable to stop it?
Ask the Pitt Meadow Marauders, the lastest team to fall before Von Richardson and the GW Graham ground game.
Despite playing with a shorthanded roster of just 18 players, Richardson and company hammered their East division foes 47-14.
The road win pushed GWG’s record to 3-0, good for a share of first place alongside the also-unbeaten Abbotsford Panthers (3-0).
The Grizz led 7-0 before the Marauders knew what hit them. GWG took the opening kickoff and marched straight downfield on a 12 play series that ended in the endzone.
Richardson carried the ball eight times on the opening drive, ripping off runs of 12 and 14 yards and finishing with a three yard TD.
After Pitt Meadows went three-and-out on their first series, the Grizzlies took the ball and executed an eight play drive that ended in another Richardson major.
Quarterback Bentley Thomas kept the drive going with a key fourth down conversion, completing a 19 yard pass to Jesse Hough on fourth and six.
Richardson rumbled in from seven yards out to give his team a 13-0 lead, and added a third touchdown before halftime for a 19-7 lead at the break.
When No. 15 wasn’t running through or around Marauders, Darius Kelly checked into the game with the same punishing style that had the Pitt D completely worn down by the fourth quarter.
His twin brother, Dion, provided a change-up with swing passes out of the backfield and the occasional jet sweep.
“We had a lot of help from our O-line and we couldn’t have done it without them,” Kelly said. “We came in excited and ready to play.”
Richardson added his fourth TD run of the evening midway through the third quarter to push the GWG lead to 26-7.
The Grizzly defence was, for the most part, suffocating.
Richardson, Hough, Justin Hopwood and Jake Troyan had quarterback sacks and Richardson recovered a fumble that was jarred loose by Darius Kelly.
Thomas produced an interception to snuff out a Marauder drive but paid the price when his head was driven into the turf on the tackle.
Colin Campbell took over at QB for the Grizzlies and engineered three more scoring drives.
He bootlegged left for a five yard TD run, handed off to Richardson for a two yarder and had Darius Kelly plunge in from the one.
Campbell also flashed the ability to push the ball downfield, including a 28 yard hookup with receiver Shane Claridge.
That the Grizzlies were able to be so dominant with such a small group of players is testament to how good their starters are.
Out of necessity, most of the key figures had to play both ways, including Darius Kelly, who saw action at running back and linebacker.
He admitted they were nervous before the game and exhausted afterwards, but he was looking forward to a happy bus ride home.
“We just realized we had to play our game and do what we know best, which is play hard and hit hard,” he said. “It’s pretty fun playing with these guys.”
After two straight on the road the Grizzlies are back home Friday night to face the Samuel Robertson Tech Titans.
SRT is 2-1 with wins over the Langley Saints (14-10) and Robert Bateman Timberwolves (12-0).
Their lone loss was a 49-14 beatdown by Abbotsford.