Two-a-Days: Rickards High School preseason outlook

By: Asher Wildman | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
July 27, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Rickards Raiders enter 2017 as the defending 5-A District Two champions, and came just short of punching their ticket to the state final four in 2016.

The Raiders have two big storylines following them as they prepare for the upcoming campaign. First, the continuity at the head coaching position, as Quntin Lewis returns, and is the only Leon County Public Schools head coach to return to his program from last year.

The second being who will step up to fill the shoes of starter DJ Phillips, who has graduated and is preparing for his first year at FAMU.

"My starter will be Marcus Riley," Coach Lewis told the media at Big Bend Media Day earlier this week. "He will have to do the best he can do. He has to grow as a quarterback, not just as an athlete, for us and he's doing a great job with it right now."

Riley knows of the challenge ahead, and credits Phillips for preparing him for taking on the role as starter.

"I picked up on his leadership and how to carry myself," Riley said.

Below, you can view the Rickards transcript from WCTV's Media Day live blog. If you missed anything from Media Day, you can visit the live blog by clicking here.

Rickards is represented by head coach Quinton Lewis, Destin Coates, Marcus Riley and Chris Pitts.

Coach Lewis’ opening statement
“This year is going to be a good one. We’ve got a real tough schedule. We open up with the biggest task we’ve ever had at Rickards in playing a team from Miami. Our goal is to make sure Rickards is known around the state for football. We return four starters offensively and three defensively.”

Coach Lewis on how key summer is with roster turnover
“I always focus on teaching the individual in spring and summer. I want them to learn how to play football. I need to teach them how to play football. It doesn’t matter if they’re playing 10 minutes or 45 minutes.”

Coach Lewis on the quarterback situation
“It’s not a situation, it’s Marcus Riley. I challenge him every day to learn the position. It’s a work in progress, and I stay on him every day, but he’s going to be pretty good.”

Riley on expectations he’s set for himself as the starting quarterback
“Just trying to go out and win the game.”

Coates on what he wants for him and his team
“The ultimate goal is to win a championship. For myself, I just want a great year with my teammates.”

Riley on learning as the backup quarterback last year
“I picked up on his leadership and how to carry myself.”
Coach Lewis - “He does everything he’s supposed to do. He stays late. He watches film. The goal is to make him a better quarterback - not an athlete, but a quarterback.”

Coach Lewis on the excitement surrounding Rickards
“It’s blowing up already. We’ve got maybe the toughest district in the state of Florida. Athletes aren’t a problem for us. We’ve got to play some football. The coaches that are around me - that’s the scary part. Everyone has a good coach. I’ve got to make sure I don’t get out worked or out coached by anybody.”

Players on the pride they have in the Rickards program
Pitts - “We’ve got a big mindset going into the season. Last season, that loss really got to us, so we’re gonna come in real hungry. DJ was a leader for us. We miss him. I’m just ready for the season, I’m ready to play.”
Coach Lewis - “We’re not just representing Rickards high school, we’re representing everyone who has walked through the halls. I’m not going to let them down, period. We’re gonna keep winning games. We’re going to play the game every Friday night with every ounce of our ability."

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