Thursday, 09 September 2021 17:32

PREVIEW: No. 3 Richmond hosts No. 6 South View to close non-conference schedule

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The Richmond offensive line, pictured during the team's win over Mount Tabor, will try to hold off a "well coached" South View defense. The Richmond offensive line, pictured during the team's win over Mount Tabor, will try to hold off a "well coached" South View defense. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — When the Richmond Senior High School football team takes the field on Friday night, it will be the first time in over three years the Raiders will try to bounce back from a regular-season loss.


None of the players on the current roster played in the 49-28 loss to Wake Forest High School in August 2018. Head coach Bryan Till noted that even though they don’t have anything to compare it to, the Raiders are resuming “business as usual.”

No. 3 Richmond (2-1) fell last week to Cardinal Gibbons by one possession in its home opener, and will close its rigorous non-conference schedule with another home game this Friday against No. 6 South View High School (2-0).

The Raiders will play their fourth top 10 ranked opponent to start the season, according to HighSchoolOT.com’s rankings, and Till said having another quality opponent to prepare for will help the team move forward.

“It’s hard to handle the loss any differently because these kids haven’t experienced losing in the regular season,” Till explained. “We just got back to work at practice and having to get ready for another good opponent will help us focus.

“Our kids know they had to get their butts back to work after the loss,” he added. “We’ve had a good first couple days, and our Labor Day practice was probably the best one we’ve had since I’ve been here.”

Richmond’s practice routine was disrupted on Wednesday when all after-school activities were canceled. Till noted the Raiders will “not get as many reps” as normal, and hopes the team “won’t be rushed” on Friday.

The Raiders schedule also saw two changes made on Wednesday, shifting around games against Southern Lee and Lee County because of COVID-19 protocols. 

To earn a win and start the season 3-1 heading into an off week, Till said “having the ability to win this game is important” for the Raiders.

In the history of the two teams, Richmond holds an 11-0 all-time record, with the last meeting resulting in a 21-0 win during the 2016 regular season.

The Tigers and head coach Rodney Brewington have earned two shutout victories to start the season, defeating Overhills 43-0 and Hoke County 20-0. A stout 3-4 defense that Till noted is dominated by the back seven is something the Raiders are preparing for.

“They run a three-man front (on defense) like us, so there’s some basis there,” Till said. “South View is very well coached and very good on defense. Their linebacking corps and secondary are really good, and they don’t allow deep passes.

“The teams they’ve played have helped them not allow any points, but they’re still good regardless. The back seven are the strongest part of their defense.”

Till said the Tigers are also unique in how they run a two-read coverage with two high safeties in the secondary. He explained that depending on the route, the cornerbacks also have the ability to break on shallow routes.

Two of the Tigers’ safeties are senior Jarod Brown and junior Sivan Smith, and Till added that South View is “long at cornerback,” which could make throwing the ball into coverage difficult for the Raiders. 

Brown and Smith each have one interception and three passes defended through two games.

Off the edge at the outside linebacker position, Richmond’s offensive line is gearing up for senior Jaylen Johnson, who has 16 tackles and three tackles for loss. 

Senior middle linebacker Isaac Evans leads the team with 24 tackles and senior defensive lineman Bryan Brewington has a team-high three sacks and 5.5 tackles for lost yardage. 

Senior linebacker Blake Crawford adds 21 tackles and five for a loss, part of the 22 tackles for loss by the Tigers’ defense this year.

“A lot of the defensive guys also share responsibilities on offense,” Till said. “Some of their linebackers can line up at wingback, fullback or tight end. There will be skill guys on either side of the ball at all times.

“We have to rely on our strengths in Kellan (Hood’s) decision-making abilities and the strength of our o-line. If we can find their weak points, we expect to get the job done.”

On offense, the Tigers are “run heavy” and use a committee of running backs to balance out the passing game from senior quarterback Cedavion Wimbley.

Four different tailbacks have at least 10 carries on the season, with senior Michael Breedlove leading the way with 121 yards on 18 rushes and two touchdowns.

South View also gets the ball in the hands of Keyon Slaughter-Keen and Christian Rutledge, Cory Barr has a rushing score and Wimbley has 40 yards on 13 carries.

“The heavy running game sets up the potential for big passes from their quarterback, who has an absolute cannon,” Till said. “ (Wimbley) is sort of a mirror image of Kellan, who can sprint out and gets a lot of option reads. He is elusive when he keeps the ball in his hands.”

Wimbley has thrown for 231 yards on 12 completions for three touchdowns this fall. Senior Jamareese Ray has a team-high eight catches for 136 yards and two scores. Till noted that Ray works well out of the slot and can see reverses and screens sent his way.

The Raiders and Tigers will kickoff Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Raider Stadium. Tickets are available online at GoFan.co.

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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.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

Twitter: ROSports_