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Austin empowered: NFA's Richards sets school passing record in victory

Norwich — It has been suggested that nobody really ever dissects the moment when they're immersed in it.

Exhibit A: Norwich Free Academy quarterback Austin Richards, who all but shrugged off his moment Saturday afternoon, when he thrust himself into the NFA, Eastern Connecticut Conference and state high school football record books.

Richards threw for an NFA record 482 yards, leading the Wildcats to a 41-30 win over Glastonbury. The 482 yards is second in ECC history and 16th best in state history, according to the official state high school record book.

Richards threw for five touchdowns and rushed for a 54-yard score as the Wildcats cut a swath through Glastonbury's defense.

"I guess," Richards said, when asked if a record day meant anything to him. "I'm not content. We want to win the state championship. We have to do what we have to do to get there."

In two weeks against Xavier and Glastonbury, Richards is 46-for-66 for 752 yards and eight touchdowns.

NFA, decimated at running back, ran its first scripted run play of the game with 9:43 left in the fourth quarter. Otherwise, they threw it all over the place, Richards to Andrew Cote, Nolan Molkenthin, Damien Bleau and Max Pierre Louis, all of whom had at least one touchdown reception.

"The plan is whatever they give us, we go with," NFA coach Jason Bakoulis said. "If they give us pass, we pass. Give us the run, we run. They're just doing what they're coached to do. This week, we were able to see some things and do some things."

Richards: "The way they play defense, they like to blitz a lot. All our routes were basically open. We knew from watching film the way they play defense opened up our key guys. All our receivers scored. That's what we want."

NFA trailed 7-0 early until Richards hit Cote with an 80-yard touchdown pass. The Wildcats trailed 14-7 until Pierre Louis caught a 78-yard touchdown pass. NFA never trailed again, after Richards connected on scoring pass to Bleau (5 yards), Cote (70 yards) and Molkenthin (71 yards) before his 54-yard touchdown run on a scramble.

Cote caught six passes for 225 yards.

"It's a combination of (Richards) being excited about his senior year — he works incredibly hard — and the receivers and offensive line being pieces around him," Bakoulis said. "And our coaches are constantly looking at ways to make these guys better."

NFA plays one of the spotlight games in the state next week at No. 7 Shelton.

Bacon Academy's Sean Kelly set the ECC record with 530 yards passing on Nov. 1, 2014, in a 74-38 loss to NFA, finishing 35-for-60.


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