Raiders Enter First Fall Camp Under New Head Coach

After a three-day camp to build team chemistry and shore up the team’s assignments, the Richland High School football program took to the field for its first scrimmage of the fall season Thursday at Wayne Hobbs Stadium.

The 2017 season will be the program’s first under new head coach Mike Holt, a Richland alum and former assistant coach under Joe Moos. Holt said he felt this week’s camp in which the team stayed overnight at the school from Sunday through Wednesday was key for his club and something the school has not seen before.

The team practiced in full pads once each day but also spent time working on assignments all across the depth chart as well as team building exercises. Thursday, the team had the chance to put its work to the test against Mt. Juliet Christian and Cornersville in abbreviated scrimmages.

The scrimmage included 10 warm up plays for each offense before a 25-minute running clock portion, and after a difficult start in the first 10 plays against Mt. Juliet Christian, the Raiders showed promise on both sides of the ball in the scrimmages.

Mt. Juliet Christian served as a measuring stick for the team as a program Richland played during the 2016 season featuring some of the best skill position players the Raiders will see this fall.

Saints running back Darius Hylick returned in the backfield after rushing for more than 250 yards and five touchdowns in last season’s game. The back scored two more times in the first 10 plays but then he and the entire MJC offense added just one more trip to the end zone over the course of the 25-minute regular portion of scrimmage as the RHS defense stood tall. The Raiders also forced a pair of turnovers including a long interception return by cornerback Skylar Tarpley.

The Richland defense gave up just one more touchdown in the 25-minute scrimmage against Cornersville as the Bulldogs also added a fumble return for a touchdown from their defense. While the RHS offense struggled to score, missing on its only field goal attempt, but still moved the ball effectively throughout the day.

Dustin Grenko and Gus McGowan were key offensive backs, running behind a line that was missing two starters due to injury, and Tarpley caught six passes for 109 yards from quarterback Braxton Woodard. Holt said Woodard’s confidence and composure have improved off the offseason leading to the signal caller winning the team’s composure award at camp.

The Raiders have a 7-on-7 scheduled against Loretto Aug. 9 before playing in a jamboree Aug. 12 at Fayetteville City. Richland is currently scheduled to open the regular season Aug. 18 when the team travels to Perry County.

Read more of this story in this week’s PULASKI CITIZEN, available in markets across Giles County and in digital and traditional newspaper formats by subscription.

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