Henrilus emerges as backfield threat for Rattlers
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
It was supposed to be a senior showcase in the final home game for the FAMU football team, but it took a freshman running back to give the Rattlers the one bright spot in a game that they led before fading in the final 30 minutes.
When Ricky Henrilus was done in front a Bragg Stadium crowd of 17,234, he racked up 153 yards on 20 carries. He averaged 7.7 yards per carry in his second consecutive game of a 100 yards or more.
The freshman running back rushed for 137 yards through the third quarter, but the rest of the Rattlers’ offense became lethargic and mustered just a field goal in the second half.
FAMU fell to 3-7 overall and 2-5 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. They play their final game on Nov. 18 against Bethune-Cookman in the Florida Classic.
Henrilus had been getting most of the touches out of the back field in the last three games. Devin Bowers, who has been the starter before Henrilus stepped in, reportedly sat out with an unspecified injury.
The logical replacement was Henrilus, said coach Alex Wood. The converted receiver from Miami who played his last two high school seasons at Lincoln High School, hasn’t disappointed.
“He works hard and he’s turned out to be what we’d hoped he would be in terms of running back,” Wood said.
From the outset, Henrilus made his presence felt. He carried the ball four times in the Rattlers’ opening possession that ended with a touchdown. He put FAMU in the red zone with a 10-yard run, then rushed the last two yards of the dive for his only touchdown.
As much as the Bison’s defense was hitting hard during the opening 15 minutes, Henrilus said he wasn’t going to be denied.
“I just trust God and hope I have a good game,” he said.” That’s it. I just play the game, practice hard every day and get extra time in the weight room.
“They (Howard’s defenders) weren’t hitting that hard. They were bringing it, though.”
After the Bison tied the game at 7, Henrilus again went to work as quarterback Ryan Stanley engineered a nine-play drive over 4:48 to put FAMU on top by a touchdown. Henrilus rushed for 18 yards on three plays during the drive.
Stanley said he doesn’t hesitate to hand the ball to Henrilus when his number is called.
“I knew what he is capable of,” said Stanley who finished the game 20 of 29 for 217 yards. “I know he is very athletic and has the ability to make big plays. You just have to give him the ball.
“Rick has done a good job. These past weeks he’s been running his butt off.”