ROCKINGHAM — No matter who paces the sideline with a headset and a sheet full of plays, the athletes are the ones responsible for scoring and preventing touchdowns.
It would’ve been easy for the Richmond Senior football team to lose its focus in the midst of the recent coaching change. Instead, the Raiders have avoided all distractions and devoted their time and energy to getting better every day.
The team currently dedicates three days out of the week to the weight room, where its main focus is building up strength and muscle. The other two days are spent on the field doing agility and speed work.
“No matter who comes in, what happens in the weight room and the classroom is what’s really going to help us on the field,” running back Dante Miller said. “We’ve got some big things to do next year.”
Miller will more than likely be the most featured backs for the Raiders next season. As one of the team’s rising seniors, he has taken on more of a leadership role.
According to Miller and fellow rising senior Tyrese Clark, who plays linebacker, setting the example for the younger players is key to being a good leader.
“Even though I’m not the biggest guy here, I still have to be there for everybody else. I still have to set an example,” Clark said. “If the older guys can’t set an example, the younger guys won’t know anything.”
Two players who were considered “younger guys” last August, Jake Ransom and Bobby Terry, were an integral part of Richmond’s offense this past season. Ransom’s dominance on the offensive line and Terry’s catching ability helped both rising juniors earn all-conference honors.
Now, as they get back into the swing of things, Ransom and Terry are among those called upon to lead the team in the right direction. And they have no problem with it.
“The biggest thing I’ve seen is there’s a lot of younger kids that are becoming leaders. They aren’t waiting to be a senior,” offensive coordinator Steve Burdeau said. “Some boys have some experience as juniors and they’ve been more vocal than some of the guys I’ve seen in the past.”
Terry says he’s starting to become one of the young, vocal leaders.
“If I see some of us slacking, I’ve got to pick them up,” Terry said. “I’m just trying to get everybody to do what they’ve got to do and keep leading them.”
Ransom has been focused on maintaining his work ethic in the weight room. The offensive lineman isn’t too worried about a potential scheme change under a new coach.
“I’m just making sure I’m right for the new season. If we have changes, then we have changes. We’ll deal with that later,” Ransom added. “I just do what the coaches tell me to do, work hard and pay attention to film every day. That’s about it.”
Bryan Till was officially hired as the school’s 11th head football coach Jan. 30 at an early-morning Board of Education meeting. Till comes to Richmond from Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville, where he compiled a 34-18 record in four seasons and won back-to-back conference championships in 2014 and 2015.
The 38-year old coach is expected to start at Richmond on Monday.
“I’m expecting him to take us all the way, but it’s not only up to him. We have to take ourselves all the way, too,” linebacker Delon Wall said. “I want the fans to know that we’re going to give them what they want. We’re going to show out for them.”
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The Richmond Senior football team has been hitting the weight room three days a week in order to get a head start before next season rolls around. Players have been blocking out distractions and working hard to stay in shape.