Statesmen prep for Raiders in last game

Published 2:11 pm Wednesday, November 6, 2019

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Randolph-Henry High School’s (R-H) varsity football team enters its final game of the 2019 season, and still on the table is the possibility of showing notable growth.

The Statesmen finished both the 2017 and 2018 seasons with records of 1-9, and they hold a record of 1-8 going into their Friday, Nov. 8, contest against host Amelia County High School (5-4).

“It’s big in that regard,” R-H Head Coach Zach Orlando said of Friday’s game given the possibility of his team doubling its recent season win totals. “Obviously, they’re not a team that I think that any of our kids are taking lightly (or) that we’re looking at and thinking that we won’t have to play really, really well to be in a ballgame with these guys. I do think it would be big from that standpoint, but more so the message that I’ve been preaching is, ‘When you start something, finish it strong, no matter what it is.’ So that’s really what we’ve been trying to do.”

Randolph-Henry is coming off a bye week and has had a wealth of film on the Raiders to study.

“I still think they’re really athletic on the outside like they have been the last couple years,” Orlando said. “The last two years, they’ve had those two guys at wide receiver that you just couldn’t cover, and I don’t know if anybody is as good as either one of those guys, but they’re still… you can tell they’re really athletic. I think they want to throw the ball a little bit more this year, though, because the last couple years, they would use those guys a lot of times in like a wildcat package, and they would probably throw the ball somewhere around 10, 15 times a game, but they look like they’re throwing it a little bit more.”

Amelia sophomore Antonio Harris now fills the quarterback role previously occupied by Jalen Brown.

Orlando said Harris is not as accurate as Brown, “but I think he’s a pretty good player.

“They’ve always been a team that it doesn’t matter who’s coaching them — the kids, they play so hard that it’s hard not to notice it on film,” the coach continued. “This is like the fifth head coach they’ve had since I’ve been in the district between Nottoway and Randolph-Henry, and it’s the same thing every time you play them — their kids, they just play, they play hard …”

When the Raiders look to pass, “they’ve got four receivers that they really will throw the ball to,” Orlando said.

In terms of Amelia’s defense, he highlighted 6-foot-3-inch 270-pound junior lineman Seth Hawkins.

“He’s a good player, and he’s a good offensive lineman too, but he makes a big impact for them defensively,” Orlando said.

The coach noted he would specifically like to see his team focus on the first half and go into halftime with a chance to win — something it has done a lot this year.

“I’ll be interested to see (the Raiders) in person and see how fast they are, how many problems they really give us with their speed, because that’s really our Achilles heel is anybody that has some speed and can just run right at us,” Orlando said. “So, if they’re not quite as fast as they look like on film in person, yeah, I think that we’re going to have a pretty good chance going into halftime feeling good about ourselves, and (then) coming out of it, you never know what happens then.”

The Statesmen expect to be without junior left guard/linebacker Camden Locey due to injury.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.