ROCKINGHAM – As the season quickly moves along, the junior varsity Raiders football team has yet to know how it feels to lose a ballgame after defeating Hoke County High School last week 49-0. On Thursday, the Raiders will keep chugging along when they travel to Lumberton High School to take on the Pirates.
The Raiders used their suffocating defense to force seven straight turnovers against the Bucks last Thursday night. Although the distractions of homecoming week are something head coach Patrick Hope’s team will have to contend with, he’s looking for that same defense, along with a balanced offense and special teams to come out swinging against Lumberton.
“Homecoming is always one of those weird weeks,” Hope said. “We like our kids to participate in it, but on the field it’s all about football. We want to make sure we come and have a good week on the JV level.”
In preparation for Thursday night’s game, Hope said that dealing with the daily distractions of Homecoming week comes with the territory of coaching high school, but the plan against Lumberton is the same it’s been for every other game – three days of hard work and dedication.
The coach went on to say that a few of his starters have been moved up to the varsity team to help the older Raiders gear up for a potential playoff run, but Hope said there are JV Raiders ready to fill in and take their place.
“We had a few players to move up to varsity, but we have some other guys waiting in the wings to play in a bigger role, and those guys have stepped up for us,” he said.
A couple of players Hope mentioned were sophomore defensive back Omarion Brown who had an interception last week against Hoke and has had a great week so far in practice. Another key contributor moving into more playing time is sophomore running back AJ Roseboro, who scored a touchdown for the Raiders last week.
“He’s really starting to hold his own in that running back group,” Hope said of Roseboro. “He’s really starting to become a weapon for us. He had a big night for us last week.”
With Richmond being able to score through the air, on the ground and through special teams – such as a second half touchdown kickoff return by DJ Stephens against Hoke – Hope is looking to keep that momentum going by not changing the game plan.
“We want to continue to be balanced on offense,” Hope said. “We want to be able to run and pass with our option game and to be able to attack on the inside of the box and get the ball to the perimeter.
“We’re gonna get to air the ball out a little bit more,” Hope continued. “(Quarterback) Noah Altman has done a great job throwing the ball this week so we’re gonna get opportunities to get the ball downfield.
“Defensively,” he went on to say, “they had a odd formations we haven’t seen before so we want to take care of that. We also want to make special teams special for us in some kind of big play and getting something in the return game to get some points on the board.”
The Raiders (7-0, 4-0 SAC) will look to continue their undefeated streak alive against the Pirates at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at Lumberton High School in Lumberton.