Monday, 14 September 2020 21:22

Till 'ecstatic' about release of Raiders' SAC-only schedule

Written by
Rate this item
(1 Vote)
ROSports File Photo: Head coach Bryan Till yells during a game at Pinecrest High School in 2018. ROSports File Photo: Head coach Bryan Till yells during a game at Pinecrest High School in 2018. Jimmy McDonald — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — The road leading toward Richmond Senior High School’s hopeful eighth career football state championship will have a few less potential roadblocks this season. 

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the landscape of high school football in North Carolina has shifted several times the past few months. Now as the sports community and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association slowly regain their footing, the Raiders have an official schedule.

The NCHSAA has mandated the football season be limited to just seven regular-season games, which translates easily for the eight members of the Sandhills Athletic Conference. Richmond, which is one of those schools, will play each of the other members once.

The only major difference from the 2019 conference schedule is that the home sites will be flipped, which is normal procedure.

Football season will officially begin for the Raiders and fourth-year head coach Bryan Till on Feb. 8, followed by nearly three weeks of practice before the season opener on Friday, Feb. 26.

A seven-game regular season for the SAC will span seven straight weeks with no bye week. The NCHSAA plans to have a 32-team playoff bracket for each classification starting on Fri., April 16 (as opposed to the usual 64-team brackets).

“I am ecstatic to just be playing at this point,” Till said enthusiastically. “We also still have a chance to play for a state championship, which is huge.  

“We play in a competitive conference, so it will make each game bigger.” 

Over the past two seasons, the Raiders have swept their SAC competition en route to back-to-back conference titles. Going a perfect 14-0 against SAC teams during that span, Richmond has outscored its conference opponents 480-167 (2018) and 569-209 (2019).

Behind offensive coordinator Brad Denson’s explosive spread offense, the Raiders have also made it a point to win SAC games by large margins to last two falls. In 2018, the Raiders’ margin of victory was 34.29 points, and widened the gap in 2019 to 36.43 points.

On defense, Richmond has recorded five conference shutouts between 2018 and 2019. The Raiders kept Purnell Swett High School and Pinecrest High School off the board both seasons, and also shut out Hoke County High School in 2018.

Till explained that the team is afforded one scrimmage against another school the week prior to the start of the regular season opener. But he said he’s “not sure if that is best at this point, so we probably won’t.”

In the last decade, Richmond has averaged 12.9 games per season, including the postseason. Three times (2010, 2015 and 2019) the team has played 14 games from start to finish, with last season’s run making it the first regional championship round appearance since 2008.

Due to the coronavirus, Till’s team lost its four previously scheduled non-conference games. Richmond was slated to open on the road at Clayton High School, host Jones High School (Miami, Fla.), travel to Butler High School and close with a home game against Cardinal Gibbons High School.

Despite the circumstances, and the possibility to see the schedule change between now and February, Till said the standard set by his players the last handful of years isn’t changing.

“The expectations will be the same as they are every year,” Till said. “We expect to be our best every game and contend for a conference and state championship.”

Below is Richmond’s complete schedule. An asterisk denotes a home game:

Friday, Feb. 26 @ Purnell Swett High School

Friday, March 5 @ Pinecrest High School

Friday, March 12 vs. Jack Britt High School *

Friday, March 19 vs. Hoke County High School *

Friday, March 26 @ Lumberton High School

Friday, April 2 @ Seventy-First High School

Friday, April 9 vs. Scotland High School * (senior night) 

Playoff Bracketing: Saturday, April 10

First Round of Playoffs: Friday, April 16

Last modified on Monday, 14 September 2020 21:29

Kyle Pillar

Three-time 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_