Any photographer will tell you if the camera isn’t in focus the picture is going to be blurry. The same can be said of a football team.
That’s what happened to Richmond Hill in its last game, a 51-17 loss at Coffee County, Coach Matt LeZotte said.
“It had a lot to do with lack of focus,” LeZotte said of the loss to the Trojans who are ranked No. 8 in Class 5A. “The difference between being average and being great is being focused. It’s as simple as that.
“The last three games we’ve been average as a team,” LeZotte said. “The numbers tell a different story than the way we’ve played the last couple of weeks.
“We’ve made critical errors in every aspect of the game and we haven’t overcome them well. It started against Baker County (Fl.). We didn’t capitalize on some opportunities offensively and defensively and then it snowballed into not playing well against New Hampstead.
“We only played well the last three minutes of that game to get it into overtime.”
The Wildcats dropped a 35-32 decision against Baker County and then rebounded to beat previously unbeaten New Hampstead, 28-27, in overtime before having things fall apart at Coffee County.
Richmond Hill (3-3) was its own worst enemy at Coffee as the Trojans scored twice off interceptions, returned a punt for a touchdown and then recovered a bad punt snap in the end zone.
The Wildcats had nearly 1,000 yards total offense against Baker County and the Phoenix and more than 300 against Coffee. But it was not enough against teams who are a combined 13-3.
“We’re so close,” LeZotte said. “There’s not a player on our team that tries to make a mistake, to mess up. The focus has to change if we want different results and it starts from the top, with me.
“The focus on the jobs and what the responsibilities are has to be dialed in for us to be successful. The margin of error for us is so small and our guys are starting to understand what I mean when I say that because of the opponents we play.”
After a bye week the Wildcats return to return to action this week when it faces surging Camden County (4-2) in the Region 1-7A opener for both teams at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Wildcats Stadium.
It’s the first of four games in what is the most competitive Class 7A region in the state: Colquitt County (6-0) is currently ranked No. 2, Valdosta (5-0) is No. 5 and Lowndes (3-2) is No. 9. Camden (4-2) is unranked but has won four straight games, outscoring its opponents 177-34, since opening with a pair of losses.
Despite their up-and-down play the Wildcats have some individuals who are having outstanding seasons and its offensive line is more than holding its own.
Wide receiver Ravon Grant, Jr., leads the region in receiving with 39 catches for 465 yards and three touchdowns, quarterback Ty Goldrick’s 890 passing yards are 11 behind Colquitt’s Neko Fann and Zion Gillard is second in rushing with 645 yards to Colquitt’s A’Marius Pace who has 695.
“Our offensive line is on fire right now,” LeZotte said. “If we’re focused and dialed in we’ll minimize those mistakes.”
As a team the Wildcats are averaging 324 yards per game, second only to Colquitt who is rolling along at 386 per game. Camden County is fifth in the region at 268, all but 40 coming on the ground.