ROCKINGHAM — The last time Dakwa Nichols touched the ball in a Richmond Senior uniform he rushed for 22 yards against Pinecrest.
During the play, Nichols tried to cut back to his left and turn the carry into another of his long touchdown run. Instead, the rising senior suffered a broken bone in his foot which sidelined him for the remainder of the game and the final two contests of the year.
Nichols finished with 945 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior and added two more scores on special teams. After rehabbing his foot, Nichols is anxious to get back on the gridiron and don the Green and Yellow for one final season.
“I’m ready,” Nichols said. “That’s all I got to say.”
Normally quiet and reserved, the N.C. State commitment talks freely about his one and only goal for the upcoming season.
“We want to win a state championship,” Nichols said. “It was really tough last year watching on the sideline.”
Richmond running backs coach Brad Denson believes having Nichols in the backfield gives the Raiders the ability to break a big run at anytime.
“Our offense is built on speed and getting to the outside,” Denson said. “Dakwa has a toughness, a smartness and speed which can make for a explosive offense. It’s good to have him at 100 percent.”
While Denson and other offensive coaches are excited to have a weapon like Nichols at their disposal, they want to be cautious how they use him.
“We are going to try to take of care him,” Denson said. “He hasn’t been in five straight plays out here in the 7-on-7s. It’s not that he doesn’t want to be out there, it’s because I won’t let him.
“He hasn’t completed a full season yet. He’s work his butt off in the weight room to get ready.”
Denson added because the coaching staff plans on limiting Nichols’ workload, other players will have to pick up their production.
“This will allow Jaleel Stancil and some of the younger players a chance to step up,” Denson said. “They all have one goal and that is to be playing in the final game with a chance to put on a ring.”
The Raiders will take a week off for the Fourth of July holiday before returning to their 7-on-7 scrimmages on July 10 with Broughton, Seventy-First and Union Pines.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com