Some football coaches break down the season into four segments— the preseason, non-conference, conference and post-season.
Now with the first two parts in the rear-view mirror, Richmond can turn its focus onto the conference slate. At the halfway mark of the season, the Raiders have to feel good about their position — a perfect 5-0 and a No. 2 ranking in the Associated Press and Carolinapreps.com polls.
For the most part, the path has been smooth for Richmond coach Paul Hoggard and his Raiders. With a sophomore quarterback, inexperienced wideouts and a relatively young defense, no one should complain about being undefeated and outscoring the opposition by nearly 30 points a game (47.2-17.8).
The one nail biter in the first five games came when Hoggard thought his team, especially the offense, would be hitting its stride in Week 4.
Against South View, Richmond struggled keeping the football in its possession, fumbling the ball away three times and throwing an interception in the first 24 minutes.
The result? A 21-10 halftime deficit.
However, the Raiders responded in the second half with 26 unanswered points and no miscues to pull away for a 36-21 victory.
The win over the Tigers was tougher than it needed to be because of the turnovers. This is what Richmond can expect in the Southeastern Conference, if you turn the ball over, you will get punished.
A look at the non-conference records of the other five schools is eye-popping, 21-6. Two of the teams are 5-0 (Lumberton and Scotland County), with Hoke County posting a 5-1 mark. Purnell Swett is 3-2, with both of its losses coming to Wilmington schools — 5-0 Hoggard and 4-1 New Hanover. Pinecrest is at .500 on the season, after losing in Week 6. The Patriots’ three defeats were not unexpected, falling to Jack Britt in the season opener, Barron Collier out of Florida and New Hanover last week.
As all of the coaches said at the Media Day event before the season started, there are no easy wins in the SEC. Beginning Friday night, the lights get a little brighter, the hits a little bigger and the wins that much sweeter.
Contact Sports editor Shawn Stinson at 997-3111, ext. 14 or email@example.com