But the second season — the NCHSAA Class 4A state playoffs — have arrived, and with them the chance to start over.
The Raiders will make the hour and fifteen minute trip to face off against Raleigh Broughton tonight.
Broughton is 15-7-2 on the year, and coached by Izzy Hernandez.
“Izzy is a legend in coaching soccer,” Bennie Howard said.
“The man has won 11 state titles during his time coaching, and you have to respect that,” Howard added.
The Raider players at practice Monday night had one thing on their minds: Winning a state playoff game.
For senior forward Davis Hilton, this will be his shot at extending his time donning the green and gold of the Richmond Raiders.
Hilton was instructing his team that they could beat Broughton if they play their best.
“We have to play error free soccer,” Hilton could be heard shouting to his team, a sentiment echoed by Howard.
“We have to go out there and play error free soccer for 80 minutes, and capitalize on their mistakes,” Howard said.
The challenge for the Raiders will be to find the offense that has been lacking the past three games.
Brandon Benoist, the Raiders’ leading scorer, will not be on the field for Howard nor his teammates on Tuesday night after leaving the team earlier in the season.
Benoist was leading the team with 20 goals on the year, and finding a replacement has been a long process.
The Raiders will now look to Brandon Standridge, Zach Shilen and Davis Hilton to put the ball in the back of the net and make the Richmond offense efficient once again.
“We have had some injuries over the past three weeks and our players are finally getting healthy again,” Howard said.
“Miguel Reyes has had some problems with his leg but he is healthy, and we will be productive with all of our players back on the field.”
However the Raiders manage to find their game, they will need to do it quickly as they will face a school and a coach that has experienced great success on the soccer field.
Howard and his players are confident that they can get the job done and keep the Raiders alive in the playoffs, and the Richmond seniors’ aspirations of something bigger alive for at least one more game.
Contact sports reporter Travis Anderson at 997-3111 ext. 44 or by e-mail at email@example.com