ROCKINGHAM – Finishing the week 1-0 is the message in the Richmond Senior High School Raiders varsity football team’s locker room heading into week seven.
It’s something that the Raiders (4-2, 2-0 SAC) have been able to do to start Sandhills Athletic Conference play, as they’ve won impressively over Purnell Swett High School (56-34, two weeks ago) and Pinecrest High School (28-7, last week).
And this week, head coach Bryan Till is expecting his team to remain perfect in SAC play as they’ll hit the road for the first time in over a month and visit Jack Britt High School Friday night.
In preparing for the Buccaneers (3-3, 1-1 SAC), Till acknowledges that ahead is “another tough opponent,” and he hopes that his team will carry the momentum over from last week’s beat down of Pinecrest.
“Jack Britt has a lot of speed at the skill positions,” Till said. “There are so many formations they run (on offense). Defensively, they’re almost identical to Pinecrest in (the system) they run. They’re big on defense, especially up front.”
Following its best defensive performance of the season, in which it only allowed seven points and a season-low 173 offensive yards to Pinecrest, Richmond will have to play the same caliber of football to defeat the Buccaneers.
Throughout practice this week, the Richmond coaching staff has spent a lot of time getting the defense familiar with the nine basic formations that Jack Britt’s offense runs. Till expects to see a variety of formations that range from a spread offense, to two tailbacks and the wildcat formation with direct snaps, with other formations mixed in between.
As the Raiders’ defensive coordinator, Till knows Jack Britt’s offense will be physical. But he’s not deterred, as he knows they still have an offensive identity.
“Jack Britt is all over the place offensively,” Till said. “But they still have an identity. They run the ball first in order to throw it and lead into play-action. We really have to pay attention (on defense).”
To get their players more familiar with what they’ll see Friday, Richmond’s coaching staff has given “quizzes,” in which players have to identify from memory various formations and schemes that Jack Britt might run.
On the other side of the ball, the Buccaneers run a 3-4 defensive scheme. The Raiders’ offense has been studying film, and Till noted that he’s expecting to see a lot of Cover 2 and Cover 4 run by Jack Britt. But following outstanding performances the last two weeks by freshman quarterback Caleb Hood, senior running back Dante Miller and sophomore tailback Jaheim Covington, Till feels the offense can handle business.
Having played Pinecrest last week, Till also feels confident that playing the Patriots ahead of Jack Britt has better prepared his players. What it boils down to, according to Till, is a lot of prep work and repetitions in practice.
Jack Britt, which started the season with back-to-back losses, has won three of its last four games. The Buccaneers beat Lumberton High School 30-24 in week six, and Till called them a “Jekyll and Hyde” football team.
“They have been two different football teams this season,” Till said grinning. “They have put up a ton of points, but in the first couple games they hardly scored at all. Jack Britt is getting more and more consistent and better and better each week.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Jack Britt High School, located at 7403 Rockfish Road in Fayetteville, N.C.