Richmond Hill High School football coach Brian Brocato said next season is the year for the Wildcats to get some wins. After several scoreless years, the Cats racked up four wins since Brocato took over the program two years ago. He said, for many reasons, we should be more competitive this year. The new formation of the team had its first day of practice on Monday to kick off spring training.
"Our kids know it’s their time," Brocato said. "They’re excited and they believe what we’re doing. This is the year for us to start winning some games. We want to win some games and we want to be in some games – going into the fourth quarter, we want a chance to win."
He said the majority of the team is juniors, "so, realistically, we look to win five to six wins this year before really taking off the following year because the same guys will be here."
Those juniors are former RHMS region champion players.
"The junior class this year is the first class that won all the way up. They won in rec leagues, they won in middle school, and they won as JV players. It’s time for them to win at the high school level."
Also, Brocato said the new team is a lot bigger. He said this was proved during a recent high school football combine in Savannah which included most of the schools in the area. RHHS players finished first in bench press, vertical leap and pro shuttle with many more second place finishes.
"We’re better than we were athletically and that’s going to pay off," he said. "I had one kid, Franklin Brown, bench press 605 pounds. He is 6’2", 300 lbs. and can run a little bit, so he obviously will be a forward. Our front forward is going to be on the average of 6’2" and 270 lbs. That’s the biggest we’ve been in many years. And they’re not big fat kids; these kids can run."
Brocato said he is looking at three kids for the quarterback position: senior Tyler Mitchell who was running back last year, Matt Williams who was the back-up QB last year and Eli Thompson who was the JV QB last year.
"The goal of spring training is to get our basic offense, our basic defense and some basic special teams put in…and be able to execute it from both sides of the ball. It’s a testing period to see who’s going to go where. Spring training is about teaching, and it should answer a lot of questions."
He said eight coaches are participating and the staff is the same staff for the most part, “which instills consistency. That’s been the problem in the past - constantly changing the staff and the strategy. Change for the sake of change isn’t going to help anyone. You need to have a reason, a direction and a focus on what you’re doing, and that’s what we’re doing right now.
From the defense side, Brocato said he is continuing with his hard-hitting approach. Offensively, he said he’ll be working on a strategy to “move the sticks, which will eventually lead to touchdowns. Basically, we’re trying to establish that we can move the football. We’ll be spreading out our offense, like West Virginia does. We’re going to run a lot more than we throw, but we’re going to throw a lot more than we have in the past.”
Recent improvements to the field certainly won’t hurt. RHHS just put a new drainage system in main field and practice field in order to avoid a mud bath. This year also features a renovated field house.
Region 3-AAA was recently realigned to where we have to face just about a whole new set of region opponents. Brocato said this makes the region much tougher, but he is not intimidated by this.
“The toughest team will be Thomson,” Brocato said. “They are third in the state. Washington County is returning pretty much the same team. Liberty lost a lot of players from last year. Burke won our region last year. Baldwin made the playoffs in 3-AAAA last year. West Laurens was a playoff team.”
Non region opponents will include Bryan County, Johnson, Long County (homecoming) and Savannah High.
“Next season’s region is the toughest region we’ve ever been in,” he said. “If you want to get better, you’ve got to play good teams. This year, the schedule works in our favor. We’re only traveling to Thomson and to Burke.”