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‘We’re proud, we’re anxious, we’re excited’: Rickards ready to meet moment of program’s first ever state title game

Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 4:33 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Wednesday afternoon at Gene Cox Stadium was cold, wet and covered in a deep fog. Yet, the Rickards Raiders shone through.

The metaphors write themselves as Friday, the program that’s put championship caliber talent into college and the NFL for decades will finally play for a title of its own.

“There’s no words to explain what a Rickards alum feels right now,” Raiders head coach Quintin Lewis said after Wednesday’s practice. “We’re proud, we’re anxious, we’re excited. So many things we’re feeling right now.”

But, the roadmap to this moment has been anything but a straight line: The Raiders have endured battle after battle, finding ways to win, with a perfect 6-0 record in one-score contests.

It’s the type of will and desire that, Lewis says, you can’t find on a stat sheet.

“The energy is there, the excitement is there, the commitment is there from them,” he continued. “Not just them but the school, the community, it’s everywhere. That’s what’s driving these young men; to prove to everyone in the state of Florida that we need some kind of respect.”

Friday night, the Defenders of Tallahassee’s Southside will take the field.

In their own town.

On their own turf.

For a football Friday night unlike any other, but yet so familiar.

“We’ve had a bunch of championships throughout the school in all other sports, but the first time in football is what we’ve been waiting for. For 60-plus years, we’ve been waiting for this football team to have a chance to win a championship, and thank God it’s in Tallahassee this year.”

This Friday night, Rickards and American Heritage with everything at stake and the Raiders hoping their heart can cut through the fog one more time.

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