Home Local Sports PLAYOFF PREVIEW: No. 25 Raiders to visit No. 8 Holly Springs

PLAYOFF PREVIEW: No. 25 Raiders to visit No. 8 Holly Springs

The No. 25 Raiders will play on the road at No. 8 Holly Springs this Friday to open the playoffs. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

CHAPEL HILL — After failing to win their first three games, the Richmond Raider football team turned its season around to qualify for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state playoffs.

The NCHSAA released its final brackets on Saturday at 3:45 p.m., seeing the Raiders earn the No. 25 seed in the 4A East.

That will send the Raiders on the road for the first round to No. 8 Holly Springs High School.

Making the postseason for the sixth straight year under head coach Bryan Till, this year’s seeding is the lowest seed during that span. 

The previous lowest seed was No. 8 in the 4AA West in 2017, Till’s first season at the helm.

Richmond finished the regular season with a 5-5 overall record and a 4-2 mark against Sandhills Athletic Conference opponents.

The Seeding Process

For the second straight school year, the NCHSAA used a process that seeds teams based on their rating percentage index (RPI).

According to the NCHSAA’s website, RPI is calculated by using the following formula: RPI = (0.3 x WP) + (0.4 x OWP) + (0.3 x OOWP).

WP stands for a team’s “winning percentage” (divide the number of wins by the number of total games played). 

OWP is the “opponents’ winning percentage” (average the winning percentages of a team’s opponents) and OOWP is the “opponents’ opponents winning percentage” (the same process but for the opponents of a team’s opponents).

After two misreported records across the state, the NCHSAA posted its final RPI rankings a little more than an hour before the brackets.

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Richmond’s RPI was 0.53709 and had a winning percentage of 0.50000. The Raiders’ OWP was 0.58889 and had an OOWP of 0.50510.

The Match-Up

Hitting the road in the first round of the playoffs for the first time during Till’s tenure, Richmond will take on the Golden Hawks on Friday.

Coached by Robert Furth, Holly Springs collected an 8-2 record this fall and earned a three-way split for the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference championship. 

The Golden Hawks had a 6-1 record in conference and tied with Apex and Panther Creek high schools.

This week’s meeting will be the second playoff clash between the Raiders and Golden Hawks in the last eight years. In 2015, No. 7 Richmond defeated No. 10 Holly Springs 28-3 in the first round of the 4AA East bracket.

Furth and company won four of their five home games this season and averaged 30.4 points per game on offense. Defensively, the Golden Hawks held opponents to just 17.8 points per game.

Holly Springs’ two losses came in week one to Heritage High School (No. 15 in 4A East) and week 11 to Panther Creek (No. 17 in 4A East).

The winner between Richmond and Holly Springs will advance to play the winner of No. 9 Pine Forest and No. 24 Fuquay-Varina.

Kickoff is set for Friday at 7 p.m. The Richmond Observer will publish a game preview later in the week.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.