Friday, 09 April 2021 18:09

Raiders return to practice, prep for playoff run

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Junior Jamari Broady (left) defends a pass to senior Jaron Coleman during Friday's 7-on-7 practice. Junior Jamari Broady (left) defends a pass to senior Jaron Coleman during Friday's 7-on-7 practice. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond Senior High School varsity football team resumed practices this week following its 10-day quarantine.

After their game against Lumberton on March 26, the Raiders began following COVID-19 protocols, which saw the final three regular-season games canceled against Seventy-First, Scotland and Purnell Swett high schools.

“We’re glad to be back out here, that’s the main thing,” head coach Bryan Till said. “And we’re still getting some kids and some folks back little by little. The kids are happy to be out here and that is really what it’s all about — that look on their faces.”

Junior quarterback Kellan Hood was back under center leading the offense through a seven-on-seven drill against the defense Friday. He said the focus for the Raiders has been to continue putting in work ahead of their next game.

“Things are going good, and the team is upbeat because we’re practicing again,” Hood said. “We are just trying to get used to being back out here and we’re trying to work hard every day so that we’re ready for when we play next.”

While it’s been an unconventional spring for Richmond, the Raiders have spent the last several days gearing up for a playoff run. 

Currently with a 3-0 record, Richmond is joined by Jack Britt High School (4-0) as the only two Sandhills Athletic Conference teams without a loss. 

Jack Britt plays Scotland on Friday, and if the Scots beat the Buccaneers, the Raiders will finish first in the standings. This year’s NCHSAA state playoffs are using a team’s conference winning percentage, regardless of the number of games played, to determine who makes the postseason.

The worst case scenario for Richmond is if Jack Britt defeats Scotland on Friday, which would make the Raiders finish second in the conference standings. However, the top two teams in each conference receive automatic bids for the playoffs.

“It’s a weird situation knowing we’re going to play (in the playoffs), but we have no idea who we’re going to play at this point,” Till explained. “Normally we’re controlling our own destiny, but now we’re in control of nothing other than we’ve already made the playoffs.”

Till added that the team has spent more time this week bolstering its depth chart, having players work out at multiple positions in order to be ready.

“We’ve been doing these things all year, but more so the last few days we’re getting guys reps in different positions,” Till said. “We don’t know what’s coming, and we’re cutting down our packages on defense and offense from what we planned on doing. But we’re making sure we can run different things with multiple guys.”

The NCHSAA will release its 2021 football playoff brackets on Saturday. Depending on which teams make the postseason under the new format, Till said Richmond “could be the largest 4A team or the smallest 4AA team.”

The Richmond Observer will report on the finalized playoff brackets once they are announced.

Kyle Pillar

Nine-time N.C. Press Association award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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