ROCKINGHAM — For the first time in three years, the Richmond Senior High School football program wrapped up a full spring practice schedule.
The Raiders and head coach Bryan Till, who is entering his sixth season, held their last outdoor practices of the spring on Thursday and Friday.
The two-week spring practice period was the first official go for Richmond’s program as it begins a rebuilding phase in many areas across the board.
With the graduation of numerous multi-year starters, along with assistant coaching changes and tweaks to the offense and defense, the Raiders used spring practice to begin installing a lot of new concepts for the 2022 season.
Till noted he was pleased with the number of players participating, and complimented the team’s eagerness to get the ball rolling.
“It’s gone well, and this is the first time in three years we’ve had a complete offseason,” Till said after Thursday’s practice. “The energy has been fantastic, and last week I was really impressed with their effort even with how hot it was.
“The guys were out here flying around and it was clear they were glad to be out here,” he added. “There are a lot of new faces in new places, a new offense and defense, and a new quarterback. This was a good time to get some of those pieces in place.”
Working out at quarterback Thursday were rising senior Emoni McBride, rising junior Xavier Lowery and rising sophomore Dillon Veach. McBride played some snaps with varsity last fall as a backup to Kellan Hood.
Veach was the junior varsity team’s quarterback last season and Lowery recently moved to the area from Purnell Swett High School.
The departure of several assistant coaches led to the promotion of Chris Campolieta to defensive coordinator. Patrick Hope and Kemp McSween also moved up the coaching ladder and will share the role as co-offensive coordinators.
Former Raider Derrick Wiley is entering his first season as Richmond’s quarterback coach.
When asked about the importance of having a complete offseason, Till said that having it this year was even more significant than seasons past.
“It’s really big plus any year, but this year especially since there is so much change,” Till explained. “Not only are there guys in new places, but we’re learning new terminology.
“A full spring was a good start to get everyone on the same page, and a good opportunity for us to get these kids back in the weight room,” he closed. “It showed us who can be physical and who might be ready to fill the roles.”
Richmond will begin summer workouts on June 13, before a summer full of scrimmages and practices set in.
Till said the Raiders will host four 7-on-7 scrimmages and the team will also compete in one at UNC Chapel Hill.
Below are photos from Thursday’s practice, taken by sports editor Kyle Pillar.