The blood, sweat, and tears of summer drills and preseason practices will soon become faint memories. Butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, and nervous energy will make their way to the forefront of players minds as prepsters all across the state suit up in their team colors and burst onto the football fields for the long awaited opening kickoff of the regular season.
Bryan County and Richmond Hill are finishing preparations for their cross-county rivalry game on Friday night.
Not really knowing what to expect from this year’s young squad, head coach Ron Lewis does know one thing:
"We have been trying to revamp a depleted offensive line due to graduation and that has been our main objective," he said. "We are not nearly as big as we were last year on the offensive line, but we are quicker and we are adjusting our schemes to fit this year’s personnel."
Overall, the Redskins are young and inexperienced, but they are not without some noted talent, especially in the skill positions.
Probably the most comforting thought for Lewis is knowing that the ‘Top Offensive Player’ from last year’s squad is back.
Running back Ivey Mutcherson will be making his senior debut Friday night and hopes to surpass his impressive stats from last year.
Mutcherson scored 17 touchdowns and gained almost 1,600 yards last year, but the real goal for Mutcherson and teammates are evident.
"I’m excited about this year, but we don’t want to just make the playoffs this year, we want to win once we get there," he said.
Leading the offense at quarterback this year will be junior Winston Johnson. Joining Mutcherson in the backfield are returning starters Willie DeLoach and Deandre Walker. This backfield trio hopes to run their way to the state playoffs again this year, but that will depend a lot depends on how well and quickly the offensive line can develop and start to mesh.
Each year brings new expectations and new opportunities, which Lewis said he is aware of.
"I’ve never been one to put too much emphasis on what happened the year before," Lewis said. "Each year is somewhat different and we approach it that way. I know we still have some areas of uncertainty, but I do know that our guys have been working hard and some of the younger guys are really trying to earn a place in the starting lineup where there are some open opportunities."
This week the focus has been on getting ready for Richmond Hill and Lewis knows the Wildcats will bring their best as they have in the past.
"Richmond Hill has a good power running game and has an attacking defense and I expect to see the same from them Friday night," he said.