As football season approaches, the players, coaches, booster club and fans have quite a few things to be excited about.
In addition to the team showing enough promise and potential to break their prior losing streak, the Wildcats are on the verge of becoming radio stars throughout the coastal Georgia region.
The RHHS football team and FM classic rock radio station 104.7 The Hawk recently signed a deal to have all the Wildcat football games available live on the airwaves. The Hawk has a wide coverage area which will enable listeners to hear the games from Darien to Vidalia and all points in between.
"We’re all excited about it," said Brocato. "It’s been a hard process about turning things around and getting people to know what we’re trying to do – the fact that we are making progress and we need the community involved. This radio show is going to help us. This is particularly going to be important for games in far away areas such as Washington County or Hepzibah. People will be able to experience the games even when they’re unable to commute to some of them."
Brocato spoke of how the added exposure from the show could prove to be a valuable signing tool by becoming another way for the players to get looked at by colleges.
"I didn’t know if we’d be able to pull this off," Brocato continued. "I had hoped for it, but radio stations usually only cover the teams that win a lot of games. We haven’t won a lot yet, but the station has faith in us. I hope to be able to repay that by showing a good product on the field."
Brocato explained the process leading up to the creation of the Wildcat radio show.
"We recently got to a point where we were trying to come up with a way to market this team," he said. "I talked with Steve (booster club board member Wyatt) and Ricky (booster club president Bodaford) and some of the other boosters about it, and they have steadily been working to get this thing started."
"Wyatt was the one who took charge in this effort," said Bodaford. "He basically contacted every radio station he could find before finding Tama Broadcasting. We were pleasantly surprised to find out how easy they were to work with and how willing they were to help us. The fact that they’ve got a strong presence as far as a wide coverage area coupled with the fact that military personnel are drawn to their station – it seemed to be a perfect fit.
"Our initial charge was to find ways to tie the school and the community together and enhance the relationship we have with the community," Bodaford continued. "Thank goodness, they were willing to work with us."
"We believe in supporting the community," said station marketing manager Yvonne Clark. "We feel that, no matter how large you are, you’ve got to remember who your listener is and what area you’re servicing."
Clark explained how most FM stations like to stick to the music. "And that’s fine – we play music too, but we also consider ourselves a resource for the communities we serve. Plus, we believe in the kids and sportsmanship and encouraging them to further their education. This is one of the ways we decided to get involved in all that."
She said Wildcat fans can expect a very professional production. "We’ve got state-of-the-art equipment including wireless microphones for on-the-field interviews before the game and during halftime," she said.
The Hawk has also created a Wildcat football website which will post game schedules, scores, sponsor links and a variety of other things.
Richmond Hill First Baptist Church Pastor Keith Joseph will do the play-by-play while local sports fanatic Jonathan Goodman will be joining him for color commentary. Joseph brings to the table 15 years of experience of hosting radio broadcasts for three different high school teams in Kentucky.
Brocato hopes the added exposure will encourage players to improve their game.
"Generally speaking, when the kids know someone is taking a picture or, in this case, broadcasting a play on the radio, they’re going to be motivated to play at a higher level," said Brocato.
That motivation and a whole lot of practice will hopefully open the door to substantially more notches in the win column this coming season. The program has been daunted the last few years by a losing streak. A streak that showed mild signs of a turnaround last season with two wins and several near-wins. Last year was Brocato’s first as head coach.
Brocato gave some insight into recent practice sessions. "Offensively, we’re exactly where we need to be," he said. "We have a solid offensive line and have been running the wishbone offense. We’re running a 5-3 defense, and we’re not as solid there but we’re working on it. Special teams are never where you want them to be at this time of year, so I only see us getting better as we go.
"As far as players go, there’s a lot of depth on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Xavier Owens and halfback Darius Postell are showing a huge amount of promise," he said. "We’re looking for big things out of fullback Sean Milligan and halfback Zach Christie. The list goes on. The boys are pretty confident for a successful season. It’s a little bit of guarded optimism because recent history shows that we haven’t won a lot of games. We’re looking to break that mold."
The Cats have a home game scrimmage against Pierce County on August 24. Their first season game, as well as their first live radio show, will be in Pembroke versus Bryan County on August 31, allowing BCHS players to share the spotlight during the show’s debut.
Brocato, Bodaford and Clark each expressed the current need for sponsorship for the show and encourage local businesses to sign up for a commercial, which will be played during games. Call Clark at 912-270-7727 for further details.
"The fact that Richmond Hill has only one football team is a unique marketing opportunity," said Bodaford. "There’s no reason why a business would not enjoy benefits from sponsorship with the radio station. It’s a tremendous targeted market because, even if you don’t have kids in the school system, everybody is black and gold in Richmond Hill. That’s opportunity for businesses to prosper by showing their team support."
For video, go to www.bryancountynew.net.