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Sunday, 07 July 2019 23:56

Raiders 'where we're supposed to be' coming off first NCHSAA dead week

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Head coach Bryan Till said the Raiders are in good shape as they come of the first of two dead weeks. Head coach Bryan Till said the Raiders are in good shape as they come of the first of two dead weeks. Kyle Pillar — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — While the dog days of summer hit Richmond County this week with blazing temperatures, the Richmond Senior High School football program turned down the heat with its first of two dead weeks.

As mandated by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, all high school student-athletes and coaches were required to not participate in any school-sanctioned practices, workouts or activities. The seven-day break gave the players and coaches a brief hiatus from the gridiron, but it also served as a reflection period for Bryan Till.

Till, who is entering his third season as the Raiders’ head coach, doesn’t like to sit still, but he acknowledged that his players’ hard work through the first three weeks of summer practice warranted a break.

“I like where we are for this time of year,” Till said of the team’s progress. “We just wrapped up our third week of summer workouts and I love everyone’s effort. The break is good because it lets players and coaches relax and spend time with their families.

“But the big thing I told the guys (before the break) was we don’t want to get complacent,” he added. “We’re about six weeks away from our first game, and we’re still working on how to be ready for August 23.”

Leading up to the dead week, the Raiders participated in three 7-on-7 scrimmages, the first traveling to UNC Chapel Hill for the “Be the One” tournament. In the middle weeks, Richmond hosted Cape Fear and Cheraw high schools and worked out early-season kinks on offense and defense.

With players set to return to morning practices and weight lifting sessions Monday, Till noted that one area he’d like to see improve is his team’s “conditioning.” But so far he’s been satisfied, explaining several players on both sides of the ball are “doing what we thought they would do” in the early going.

Monday marks the start of the second phase of summer practice for the Raiders, as they look to make a run for a 4AA state title in December. Till said the first bit is focused on the team’s passing game, followed by a more run-focused second phase.

“Summer (practices) show the coaching staff where guys are on one side of the ball or the other,” Till commented. “This time of year is all about evaluating players, especially the (rising) 10th graders. We get an idea of where each player should be and evaluate his performance.”

Through the first third of workouts, Till and his staff had made it commonplace to substitute several players at each position in and out to get a gauge of where everyone is. He added that with the upcoming weeks will focus on total team schemes on offense and defense.

“I’ve been fairly impressed with wide receiver and defensive back groups,” Till said. “Dalton Stroman, Jakolbe Baldwin and Tremel Jones have all done great against competition. The DBs are all returning starters and have really flown around and given us a lot of confidence.

“Overall, we’re where we’re supposed to be at this point in the summer,” he closed. “Soon we will get the running backs more involved.”

Richmond will host its final 7-on-7 scrimmage Tuesday against Chesterfield High School, before competing in the seventh annual Powerade 7-on-7 in Charlotte on July 11-13. The second NCHSAA dead week goes into effect on Sunday, July 14.

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Kyle Pillar

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

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