Deering High senior Nate Richards receives a shotgun hike and is ready to run.

But Richards can throw.

“Trying to, at least,” he laughed.

Richards could laugh Friday night after leading the Rams to a 42-14 rout of South Portland at Memorial Field.

Richards accounted for 241 yards and four touchdowns. Playing mostly quarterback in the first half, he scrambled well but also completed 6 of 7 passes for 113 yards and a score.

In the second half, Richards lined up at tailback with Joe Pelletier taking the snaps. Richards finished with 15 carries for 128 yards and three touchdowns.

By the time Richards sprinted 45 yards for a score with 10:15 left in the game, Deering led 35-0.

“We knew giving him any daylight, what he could do,” South Portland Coach Steve Stinson said. “He’s been one of the premier, impact players in the conference.

“He’s really explosive when he runs the ball. And to be able to get some looks in the air … “

Pelletier started the game at quarterback and Richards took over the next series.

“It depends on where we need a spark,” Deering Coach Jason Jackson said. “If we need an explosive spark, we kind of go with Nate. If we need a wise old soul who knows the offense in and out, we go Joe Pelletier.

“Whatever is working, we try to do it.”

Deering evened its record at 2-2. South Portland dropped to 1-3.

The Red Riots were led by quarterback Matt Crockett (10 of 16 for 140 yards). His 61-yard pass to Zack Johnson (five catches, 97 yards) put South Portland on the board with 8:38 left.

The Red Riots began with promise. On their second possession, they drove to the Deering 22. On fourth-and-9, Raffaele Salamone of Deering batted down Crockett’s pass.

The Rams took over and Richards slipped in at quarterback. Deering drove 78 yards – keyed by a 32-yard pass to Mason Kaserman, who was covered well but jumped up for the catch at the Red Riots’ 4.

“(Kaserman) makes me look good,” Richards said. “I kind of closed my eyes and threw it.”

Richards ran it in untouched from the 4. Amed Habibzai kicked his first of six extra points, for a 7-0 lead with 11:22 in the first half.

South Portland drove to the Deering 38 but on third down, Kabala Muka sacked Crockett, forcing the Riots to punt.

Deering drove in for another score with two big third-down passes by Richards – a 33-yard completion to Kaserman, then a 22-yard scoring toss to Robbie Dacey for a 14-0 halftime lead.

“It’s all new to me,” Richards said of taking shotgun snaps. “We put this offense in against (Thornton Academy, a 56-13 loss) last week and it was raw. Tonight showed that we could do it. It worked well.”

The Rams received the second-half kickoff and drove 59 yards for a 21-0 lead. With Pelletier behind center, Deering used a full-house backfield and pounded down the field. Ryan Walsh scored from the 6.

Deering will play at undefeated Bonny Eagle next Friday. South Portland visits winless Bangor.