ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond Senior football team was full of energy early Monday morning.
After four weeks of summer workouts, which were broken up by two mandatory dead periods, the Raiders celebrated the first official day of football season on the school’s practice fields. Players and coaches were ready to go on the opening day of what they hope to be a long season.
This first week will be used as tryouts to determine the varsity and junior varsity rosters.
“The energy was good. Guys are excited about playing football…and the coaches were really prepared,” head coach Bryan Till said. “It does stink that we’re (only) in helmets — we like the contact — but I thought the kids handled it fantastic.”
Since Richmond won’t be able to practice in full pads until Saturday, it’ll devote a lot of time this week to working on special teams — like it did Monday morning. Till says there wasn’t much of an emphasis put on special teams throughout the summer because of contact limitations and the team’s commitment to being “extremely conditioned.”
That’ll change, however, as the Raiders get closer to their season opener.
“It’s of utmost importance and will be a big part of what we do,” Till said of special teams. “That’s why we’ll spend a ton of time (over) the next two weeks on it.”
Another area of focus leading up to Week 1 will be the team’s quarterback situation.
Richmond is 17 days away from its first game and has yet to name a starting quarterback. There has been some progress in the last month, though, with senior Kaleb Douglas and freshman Caleb Hood recently emerging as the top two candidates.
Neither has any varsity experience under center, but both have had solid showings throughout the summer — which has led to them getting most of the reps during practices.
“We’re going to continue to put them in some situations, and it’ll answer some questions for us. We’re getting close (to naming a starter),” Till added.
While the quarterbacking core was put through drills that tested their footwork and accuracy, the offensive skill players worked on taking handoffs, running routes and reading defenders. Each position group, on both sides of the ball, spent a lot of time in separate drills on the first day.
The Raiders ended Monday with a light scrimmage that incorporated everything taught throughout the practice. Both the offense and defense made some big plays that drew cheers from coaches and teammates.
Once they wrapped that up, Till decided to acknowledge everyone who had perfect attendance during summer workouts. He would also recognize the players who made at least 80 percent of the workouts before saying a few words on how honorable and important it is to be at every practice.
“I want to really build on the positives and highlight those guys who’ve done a lot of things right,” Till said. “The number of guys we had at 80 percent is phenomenal…I’m really proud of that. I’m thinking it’s going to pay dividends this fall.”
Richmond’s boys soccer, girls tennis and cross country teams all held their opening tryouts Monday as well. The Lady Raiders volleyball team will hold its first day of tryouts Tuesday morning.
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Richmond’s wide receivers coach Andy Shuler, left, works a drill during the early parts of Monday’s practice.
The Richmond Senior football team opened the first day of the season with "good energy" early Monday morning. It dedicated most of its practice time to position-specific drills before ending the day with a scrimmage.