Smoky Hill senior quarterback Leslie Richardson III poses for a picture holding up eight fingers to signify the number of touchdown passes — a school record — he threw in the Buffaloes’ 52-26 Week 7 win over Fossil Ridge on Nov. 19, 2020, at Stutler Bowl. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

GREENWOOD VILLAGE | Leslie Richardson III just wanted to go out and have some fun in the final game of his senior year with Smoky Hill.

The star senior quarterback ended up having historic fun Thursday night at Stutler Bowl.

Richardson III set Smoky Hill’s all-time single game record for touchdown passes in a game with eight and could have had another, but the Buffs respectfully took the foot off the gas pedal in the closing minutes of a 52-26 Week 7 win over Fossil Ridge.

“I honestly just wanted to come in and have fun in my last game with my brothers,” Richardson III told the Sentinel afterwards. “We turned the program around, so I just wanted to go out on a ‘W,’ I didn’t care about the stats. …Thankfully I have a lot of receivers who can make some plays, so it’s a quarterback’s dream to play in this offense.”

In his historic feat — which topped a seven-touchdown performance by Robert Felberg on Sept. 15, 2007, when current Smoky Hill athletic director John Thompson was the head coach — Richardson III found junior Anthony Harris Jr. for four of his scores, while seniors Alec Pinkowski and Davien Norman each had two.

Richardson III also topped Felberg in the school’s recordbooks for passing yards in a single game with 654 according to the Smoky Hill coaching staff as he blew past his career-best of 411 yards in a game earlier this season against Poudre. Felberg threw for 571 yards in the same game he had the seven touchdown passes.

According to the Colorado High School Activities Association’s online football recordbook, Richardson III is now one of six players in state history to throw eight touchdowns in a game. Only Aidan Atkinson of Fairview (9) and Luke Puchino of Longmont Christian (who had nine in one game and 10 in another) have thrown more.

Harris Jr. accounted for the record-tying and record-setting scores with the former coming on a stunning grab in the back of the end zone over a crowd of defenders and the later a burst up the sideline after making a would-be tackler miss.

Richardson III came into the game leading the 5A classification with 23 touchdown passes — which were one off the state lead regardless of classification held by Brayden Dorman of 4A Vista Ridge — and he’ll finish with 31, giving him 73 in three seasons as a starter.

The big game put the finishing touchdowns on a 3-4 pandemic-shortened season for coach Tom Thenell’s team, which got to play all seven weeks possible for non-playoff qualifiers.

Senior Kamari Lewis-Stallworth and Malik Daniels each had interceptions for Smoky Hill to help keep Fossil Ridge (3-2) at bay.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports


Score by quarters:

Fossil Ridge   0  13    7    6 — 26

Smoky Hill   14  13  13  12 — 52