It seemed that the only time Lawrence Sidbury arrived late for an assignment was when he sneaked into Richmond’s postgame news conference.
The Spiders’ senior defensive end disrupted Montana’s passing game and spent much of the night in the face of Montana quarterback Cole Bergquist. He recorded four sacks and would be at least the defensive MVP of the game if not the outright MVP.
“We really didn’t do anything special other than what we were coached to do,” Sidbury said after he sat down in front of the lights. “We try to get as much pressure on the quarterback to force errant throws, and maybe get him to move his feet and let the DBs get a ball.”
Pressure on Bergquist forced him to tuck and run up the middle late in the fsecond quarter. Defensive tackle Martin Parker swiped the ball out of his arms, and Michael Ireland scooped it up. The play gave Richmond the ball at Montana’s 31-yard line.
Sidbury earned his second sack of the game when he sped around the left side of Montana’s line and dropped Bergquist for a 12-yard loss.
He earned two more as the Grizzlies were forced to throw to try to make up its deficit.
“When we got into the middle of the third quarter, we didn’t have a running game,” Montana coach Bobby Hauck said. “They have good defensive ends, and when they get you into a throw-it-only game, it’s hard to protect.
“They won some on our tackles for sure today.”
Former Boyd-Buchanan quarterback Will Healy had his moments throughout the night, and they began before the game started.
The senior reserve quarterback represented Richmond for the pregame coin toss as one of four captains.
Playing in punt coverage, he earned a personal-foul penalty with 6:54 to go in the third quarter. Montana also drew a flag to offset Healy’s foul.
He also took the final two snaps of the game, both knee-downs after the players twice doused coach Mike London.
“After we got that first down, we had to get the vice mayor of Chattanooga in the game,” Richmond coach Mike London said of Healy, whose father is considering a run for mayor. “He was already playing on the punt team, and he got involved in a penalty issue.
“We wanted him to end the game up fittingly in his hometown.”
Montana penalty pain
Penalties may not have been a topic of discussion at halftime, but they certainly hurt the Grizzlies on their first possession of the second half.
Montana drew three personal-foul calls, including one following what would have been a third-and-2 play just outside of field-goal range.
Another flag cost the Grizzlies early. They took their opening possession to the 6-yard line, where they had first-and-goal. But an illegal-procedure penalty backed them up 5 yards and they missed a field-goal try.
“It wasn’t like it was a penalty-fest,” Hauck said.
London is the third rookie head coach to lead his team to the FCS national championship, joining Tim Stowers of Georgia Southern and Bob Pruett of Marshal. ... Richmond’s Josh Vaughan surpassed the 100-yard barrier for the 14th time in his career. ... Montana running back Chase Reynolds had a streak of eight straight 100-yard games snapped. ... Montana is now 3-11 in FCS playoff games away from home. ... The Griz finished with a season-low seven points, breaking their previous low of 19 against Eastern Washington.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...