Sunday, 12 May 2019 22:12

Trent Dilfer challenges Raider football to 'do hard things' in life; Hood nabs second D-I offer

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Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer (center) met with the Raider football program last week ahead of spring practice. Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer (center) met with the Raider football program last week ahead of spring practice. Contributed photo.

ROCKINGHAM — It’s been a busy week for the Richmond Senior High School quarterback department.

As the Raider football program and third-year head coach Bryan Till gear up for the official start of spring practice Monday, a last-minute visit by a Super Bowl-winning quarterback was a much-welcomed experience.

Trent Dilfer, a former NFL quarterback who led the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl XXXV win following the 2000 regular season, stopped by the Raiders’ facilities Tuesday to meet with Till, quarterback coach Jay Jones, rising junior and senior quarterbacks Caleb Hood and Noah Altman, as well as the team.

It was also a big week individually for Hood, Richmond’s starting quarterback the past two seasons. On May 8, he announced via Twitter that he’d received an offer from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

And over the weekend, accompanied by his family on an official visit to Appalachian State University, Hood received an offer from head coach Eliah Drinkwitz and the Mountaineers, making it his second Division I offer in less than a week.

Caleb Hood poses in an App State uniform following an offer from the Mountaineers. (Photo: Caleb Hood)

Till explained that Dilfer’s visit was put together early in the week thanks to Dilfer being in the neighborhood. Through BSN Sports, Richmond’s official uniform and team store provider, Dilfer and the company’s vice president stopped by campus.

Dilfer is actively involved with BSN, and the the company’s VP was already scheduled to visit. Richmond serves as one of BSN’s largest accounts.

“He met with the coaches, primarily, for about an hour, with Caleb and Noah being in the meeting for about 15 minutes,” Till said of Dilfer’s appearance. “We talked about his path and how God had put him where he is, as well as how all of that transpired.  

“He then met with our team and talked about the long-term benefit of ‘doing hard things’ in your life and how it accumulates over time,” he added. “He said the biggest obstacle to this is our own fears, so we must overcome our own fears.”

Till added that Dilfer’s speech “fit really well with our fea’R’less mentality we are trying to generate.”

Since retiring from the NFL in 2008, Dilfer spent time working for ESPN as a television analyst for football. He left that post in 2017 and became the head coach of Elite 11, a quarterback competition for high school athletes. Last year, Dilfer was also named the head football coach of Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, Tenn.

Having played in the NFL for 14 seasons and won a championship on the world’s biggest stage, Dilfer’s pitstop at Richmond was a major benefit for the Raiders ahead of the start of the 2019 season.

“It’s a benefit (to our players) because he has been involved in all different levels, including coaching,” Till explained of Dilfer. “This makes his assessment of the truth of hard work even more applicable to the next level. 

“So many times it’s easy for our kids to just think it’s something we say,” he added. “However, when someone with Trent's experience comes in and talks about these things, it brings home the reality that hard work is not a luxury, but a necessity.”

Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer, right, speaks to the Raider football team. (Photo: Richmond Raider football)

Since Till took over as head coach during the spring preceding the 2017 season, the Raider football program has made leaps and bounds to restore its rich tradition. Some of those accomplishments include a conference title in 2018, as well as a trip to the third round of the state playoffs.

While Till’s no-nonsense, gritty work ethic and humor often are the face of the team’s successes and hiccups, Jones has been working quietly in developing the Raiders’ quarterbacks. A Raider football alumni himself, having been the starting quarterback during the 1996 season, Jones has helped put Hood and Altman on a higher playing field the past two seasons.

“Coach Jones studies extremely hard on quarterback play and leadership, knowing that leadership is an integral part of their performance,” Till said of Jones. “He loves his players and it shows through their relationship and his dedication to doing things the right way.  

“He calls coaches and other resources and is constantly trying to find things that will help our players,” he closed. “You can see the mirror of excellence he portrays in his QBs.  Both of our young men, and younger QBs, are a clear reflection of their coach.”

Richmond will get its spring practice started Monday after school, beginning its quest for a hopeful 4AA state title in 2019.

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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