Richmond-Burton pulls away from Burlington Central

Burlington Central senior Dejsani Beamon and head coach Brian Melvin were not in total agreement after Friday night's 38-21 Kishwaukee River Conference football loss at Richmond-Burton.

"Just a bump in the road," Beamon said after he tied the game midway through the second quarter with an 89-yard kickoff return.

"I would agree with that," Melvin said.

However, Melvin wouldn't mind if the response to defeat by Burlington (2-2, 0-1) was more in line with Beamon's point of view.

"We'll be fine," Melvin said.

"We'll be great," Beamon said after he also recovered 2 fumbles and forced another recovered by Burlington.

At times Burlington looked very good and made some electrifying plays with sophomore Jake Lenschow making his first varsity start. But committing 5 turnovers for the second time this season and having Richmond (3-1, 1-1) senior Michael Kaufman rush for 284 yards and 4 touchdowns proved to be too much to overcome.

Three Burlington turnovers came on possessions in Richmond territory.

"Our effort is great, but our execution was not great tonight," Melvin said after Richmond rushed for 420 of its 454 total yards. "We did not play well. We had a lot of mental mishaps but that happens.

"Turnovers are killing us and we've been turning the ball over all year (15 times)."

Richmond scored first as Kaufman raced 70 yards up the middle on a trap. But Beamon's recovery of a Kaufman fumble set up a tying 30-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-15 from Lenschow to junior Kyle Moring (5 catches, 71 yards).

Lenschow finished 12-for-28 for 171 yards passing and rushed 12 times for 40 yards. He came on in relief last week after junior Johnny DiCostanzo suffered season-ending ACL and meniscus tears in his knee.

"I'm very proud of Jake tonight," Melvin said. "That's a really tough situation to be in to try and lead a team that's trying to win a conference title. He played so well."

Kaufman's 65-yard run put Richmond ahead. Beamon answered immediately by taking the ensuing kickoff at his 11 and racing up the right sideline untouched.

"Our special teams coach (Ashton Brown) always stresses that special teams can make a big difference," Beamon said of his first kickoff return touchdown. "He told me to go to the four-man side. That's what I did and I took it to the house.

"I've had some big kick returns before. That was a big momentum switch and we got the (defensive stop), but then we mishandled the punt and it kind of went downhill from there."

So, Burlington went from an opportunity to lead at halftime or preserve the tie to giving the ball to Richmond at the 13. Two plays later Shane Byrne ran in from 11 yards and Jack Langlois' 30-yard field goal on the final play of the half put the hosts up 24-14.

Michael Kalusa's 38-yard kick return and adjustment and juggling catch and run with Lenschow's pass for 46 yards cut Burlington's deficit to 24-21 on the first play of the second half. Kaufman came right back on the next play with a 63-yard touchdown run.

A fumbled pitch at midfield set up Blaze Bigos' 4-yard touchdown run with 7:04 left in the third. Beamon gave Burlington two more chances with his forced and recovered fumbles but they weren't turned into points.

And it doesn't get any easier for Burlington as it hosts unbeaten Johnsburg, last year's Class 4A runner-up, next Friday.

"I'm very confident in our football team," Melvin said.

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