Well protected Smoky Hill senior quarterback Leslie Richardson III (6) launches the ball downfield for one of his six touchdown passes in the Buffaloes’ 47-13 non-league football win over Poudre on Oct. 16, 2020, at Stutler Bowl. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

GREENWOOD VILLAGE | The Smoky Hill football team lost to defending state champion Cherry Creek in its season opener, but it did nothing to shake the confidence for coach Tom Thenell’s group.

The Buffaloes — who certainly challenged in the Bruins in defeat in their first regular season loss since the 2017 season — got into the win column in a big way Friday night at Stutler Bowl with a 47-13 victory over visiting Poudre.

Senior quarterback Leslie Richardson III filled the air with footballs and finished with six touchdown passes in less than three quarters of work for Smoky Hill, with the last one a jump ball to Anthony Harris Jr. that invoked the running clock 40-point mercy rule.

“We had our season end last year against Columbine (in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs) and we start this season with Cherry Creek, so thank you very much,” Buffaloes coach Tom Thenell said.

“We have a new team in a lot of ways. …This is a testament to these kids. They went to work this week and showed up tonight to get back to what they are used to.”

Harris Jr. hauled in scores of 35 and 25 yards, senior Alec Pinkowski caught three — a 76-yarder, plus others of eight and three yards — and senior Davien Norman also reached the end zone on a 23-yard scoring catch for the Buffaloes as Richardson III was credited with 411 yards passing.

Smoky Hill scored 40 straight points that included a defensive score when senior Kamari Lewis-Stallworth scooped up a fumble and took it back 88 yards to the end zone.

Poudre (0-2), which was shut out in its opener, responded immediately to Smoky Hill’s opening score with 52-yard touchdown pass from Griffin Dakniss to Joseph Rodriguez, but didn’t score again until just before the running clock expired.

Smoky Hill had back-to-back 10-0 regular seasons in 2018 and 2019 as part of the Metro 10 conference and hadn’t lost a regular season game since Nov. 4, 2017, until it had to face Cherry Creek in the opener. The Buffaloes scored first in that game and just missed a chance to go into halftime tied in a game Richardson III finished with 199 yards passing and two touchdowns.

Smoky Hill (1-1, 0-1 in the Centennial League) is scheduled to play Cherokee Trail (0-2, 0-2) — which is coming off a 49-7 loss to Cherry Creek — at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at Stutler Bowl.

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:

Poudre          7    0   0   6 — 13

Smoky Hill   14  18  15   0 — 47


First quarter

Smoky Hill: Anthony Harris Jr. 30 yard pass from Leslie Richardson III (Ivan Hucalo kick)

Poudre: Joseph Rodriguez 52 yard pass from Griffin Dakniss (Blake Ball kick)

Smoky Hill: Alec Pinkowski 8 yard pass from Richardson III (kick)

Second quarter

Smoky Hill: Pinkowski 76 yard pass from Richardson III (kick failed)

Smoky Hill: Kamari Lewis-Stallworth 88 yard fumble return (kick failed)

Smoky Hill: Davien Norman 23 yard pass from Richardson III (2-point failed)

Third quarter

Smoky Hill: Pinkowski 3 yard pass from Richardson III (Pinkowski pass from Richardson III)

Smoky Hill: Harris Jr. 25 yard pass from Richardson III (Brown kick)

Fourth quarter

Poudre: Landen Symonds 4 yard run