Heading to the Beach
Richmond, Myrtle Beach to square off
by By Shawn Stinson
ROCKINGHAM — During Labor Day weekend a number of families head to the beach for one final summer celebration.
The Richmond Senior football team will make a journey to the ocean, not for enjoyment but to battle Myrtle Beach in the opening game of the Derrick Law Firm Carolina Kickoff Clash presented by Sports Radio 100.3 The Team.
This will be the first meeting between the Raiders and the Seahawks. Tonight’s game will be the season opener for Myrtle Beach.
Richmond opened its season with a 37-13 win over Rocky River as Diquon Cox scored three touchdowns, two rushing and one receiving.
Brent Flowers had 294 yards of total offense in the victory, running for a game-high 188 yards and throwing for another 106. He threw for one score and rushed for another.
“I was pleased with the way he was able to make adjustments especially against a defense we didn’t expect,” Richmond coach Paul Hoggard said. “He’s a three-year starter, his sophomore year was about survivial and his junior year he started understanding his role.”
Associate head coach and quarterbacks coach Mike Kesler added Flowers took advantage of a mismatch against the Ravens.
“He was able to outrun their linebacker who was responsible for him,” Kesler said. “In the passing game he was 60 percent, that’s not bad but we want him to do better. Brent is understanding the offense, on running plays he is looking at the pitch key and counting the numbers (in the box). He couldn’t do that before.
“He can do a lot of special things.”
Flowers and the rest of offensive unit will be matched against a relative young, inexperienced Seahawk defense. Marcus Chestnut made the switch to middle linebacker after being on the line last season. Chestnut is only player among the linebacker corps and secondary with a good amount of varsity experience.
“Everything is starting to go well. As long as all the young guys line up with the leaders, we’ll be all right,” Chestnut told The Sun News. “It’s going to be kind of difficult at times with them trying to catch up with us. Hopefully their talent and their skill sets will make up for everything.”
Hoggard said the key to having offensive success tonight is making changes on the fly.
“The biggest thing is the unfamiliarity with them,” Hoggard said. “It’s going to be a different environment for us and probably the first time a lot of us have played on turf. Our offensive coaches have been together a long time and do a good job of making adjustments.”
After facing a Rocky River team which was nearly 50-50 on offense (28 rushes, 22 passes), Richmond will now square off against pass-heavy Myrtle Beach.
Like on defense, the Seahawks will also be relatively inexperienced on offense, featuring two sophomores in the backfield — running back Brandon Sinclair and quarterback Drayton Arnold. Sinclair was the team’s leading rusher last season.
“We have a few seniors who will start for us, but they were backups before,” Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said. “They’re first-year starters. Even some of our returning guys who were starters are moving to other positions.”
Richmond defensive coordinator Mark Arthur expects Myrtle Beach to sling the ball around Doug Shaw Stadium from all angles.
“They are not bashful about what they do, they will send five out in the route,” Arthur said. “They are very hard to blitz because the quarterback lines up so deep, he’s seven or eight yards deep. If you do blitz, you have to ask yourself are you blitzing to get pressure or just blitzing to blitz.”
Arthur added he will at times match their offensive sets and have five defensive backs in the contest, but believes “we still have to do what we do.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.
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