Home Local Sports PHOTOS: Denson says Raiders ‘got better’ as spring practice ends

PHOTOS: Denson says Raiders ‘got better’ as spring practice ends

Rising senior wide receiver Nicholas Griggs stiff arms rising senior corner back Jarah Cook after a completion during Thursday's final day of spring practice. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — During the final breakdown of Thursday’s practice, Brad Denson told the Richmond Raider football program that its eight-day spring practice was “one of the better practices” he’s been a part of in 14 years.

The Raiders concluded their first spring practice under Denson as head coach, who took over his alma mater’s program in February.

Around 90 players, including both varsity and junior varsity, completed the first legitimate go of the 2024 high school football season on Richmond’s practice fields.

The eight-day period saw players broken into position groups daily to work on improving their skills and learn new team concepts. 

Thursday’s practice culminated in a scrimmage-like showdown between the offense and defense for the final 45 minutes. Rising juniors Evan Hodges and Domonic Tillman split first-team reps at quarterback.

Denson, who led Richmond to consecutive 4A state titles at quarterback in 1997 and 1998, explained the purpose of spring practice is to get a gauge on where the program is and to improve upon that mark.

While admitting it’s been a whirlwind getting the program where he wants it to be, Denson said he was pleased with the overall progress of the Raiders.

“Every kid got better,” Denson said. “We got better defensively, we got better offensively. And that’s what we’re out here to do. We were able to get some install in, and at the same time, build on where they were when we started.”

While implementing his own style of coaching, Denson noted that one positive during the past two weeks has been the quick acclimation of players to what he wants accomplished and how he envisions it to be done.


Another benefit has also been using many of the same assistant coaches, with the addition of a few returning familiar faces.

“It doesn’t look a lot different,” Denson explained. “Defensively, we changed some things up. Offensively, it hasn’t changed, but we’ve put a wrinkle or two in here and there. 

“A lot of the stuff we’re doing the kids are really familiar with, which allowed us to progress as good as we did.”

With the early session of the season in the books, Denson said the focus for all of the players is back in the classroom to close out the school year.

“The next thing for all of the guys is exams,” Denson said. “We have to finish the school year and finals right. We preach finishing all the time and they have to finish inside the school building, as well. 

“We get a two-week (on-field) break and then we kick it up,” he closed. “We’ll be maxing out in the weight room next week, which is a big thing for us.”

The Raiders will return to the field to begin summer workouts June 11. Richmond’s first 7-on-7 scrimmage is slated for June 20.

Below are photos of Thursday’s final day of spring practice, taken by sports editor Kyle Pillar.