‘We’re everybody’s Super Bowl Sunday’: Rickards holding high expectations heading into 2021 season
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - In 2020, the Rickards Raiders came four quarters from the program’s first ever state title, setting the standard for years to come.
Raiders head coach Quintin Lewis looks to keep it that way in 2021, knowing RHS now has a target on their backs.
“We’re everybody’s Super Bowl Sunday, so to speak, around this area to make sure they measure up to what we put forth last season,” Lewis said. “So, the challenge is great. We truly believe that we should be able to get back to where we were last year and hopefully this time win it.”
The expectations are high, intensified even, after moving up from 5A to 6A.
”The step up is a new challenge,” Lewis continued. “We always have, what we thought, was a 6A-sized roster. We’re returning so many guys offensively, we think we can have our offense lead us while our defense grows. We believe we can score almost at will. We should have a very interesting season coming up.”
The Raiders start their 2021 campaign with a bang, to the tune of defending 3A state champs Trinity Christian coming to town Week 1.
”We get to see early about what we have. Everyone around here is trying to play these guys because they are very, very talented. It’s always the best players in Jacksonville on that football team. We get a chance to measure where we are at North Florida wise and leading into the playoffs and things like that.”
That game will be the first at Rickards’ new home field, a field covered in Blue Turf and one that Lewis and the Raiders have already deemed The Dead Sea.
”I think that all opponents that come in will leave with a loss. Nobody comes out of our sea alive with a victory. We’re very proud of it. It’s an imposing environment. That’s what it gives us. A real high school home field advantage.”
Above all else, Lewis and company want to show the state that the new standard on the Southside is here to stay.
”Let’s show everybody that it wasn’t a pandemic fluke, because everyone was going through the same thing. We’re always one of the most athletic teams there. Playing with discipline, taking care of the ball, and staying healthy was the key for us last year so if we can do that again this year, we have a good chance.”
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