The Rider Raiders are coming into the season with a new head coach.
After losing in the first round of the playoffs last year, Coach Marc Bindel is looking to put a lot of points on the board this season.
"One of the things we have always done on offense is we tried to score a lot of points," Bindel said. "So we're going to continue to do that, and I have expectations of the kids that no matter who's on offense we expect those guys to perform."
"I expect for us to accomplish a lot," says junior receiver T.J. Vasher. "We have a lot of people doubting us and what we're going to do. I feel like we have high expectations for us and our team. We feel like we can make big things happen."
The 6'5" Vasher will be one of the biggest threats this season for the Raiders, creating a big mismatch on the outside.
"Definitely, being a deep threat," was how Vasher described his role on the team. "When you need a big play also a big playmaker on the goal line."
Vasher is considered a 3-star prospect and has received interest from most of the Big 12 as well as Oregon, and an official offer from SMU.
"First and foremost, offensively, the guy that stands out is T.J. Vasher," coach Bindel said. "And that's because he's so tall he kind of stands above the crowd. He had a great scrimmage for us, and he's a guy that defenses are going to have to look at."
New starting quarterback Desmond Jackson is excited to have a big threat like Vasher to throw to.
"It's special, having a tall receiver you know you can just throw it up to," Jackson said. "And he will go get it."
With explosive weapons around him, Jackson is ready to take a big leadership role this season.
"He's a senior, he's been in the program four years," Bindel said of his quarterback. "He's worked really, really hard. He had a great scrimmage. He's a guy we're very confident can lead.
"They all follow my footsteps," Jackson said of his team. "They do everything I do. I've got to lead by example, I know that they know that, just gotta work as a team and make the dream work."
With his athletic ability, Jackson will bring a new element to the offense they did not have last year.
"[He's] very different from our quarterback last year," Coach Bindel said, referring to graduated senior Chase London. "Desmond is more of a dual-threat quarterback, so he can run and throw, and we're going to ask him to do those things."
"They don't know much about me," Jackson says of the rest of the district. "I watched everybody play, so they think I can just run, but I can run and throw."
When asked how he plans to put up the points his new coach wants, Jackson had a very clear answer: "We've gotta go fast, gotta keep the defense tired. And when they're not tired, you've just gotta speed it up some more, so they get tired."
The Raiders open the season Thursday night at 7:30, facing the Cooper Cougars at Shotwell Stadium.
Rider Raiders 2014 Schedule
Aug. 28 at Abilene Cooper, 7:30
Sep. 5 vs Amarillo, 7
Sep. 12 at Denton Guyer, 7
Sep. 19 BYE
Sep. 26 at Saginaw*, 7
Oct. 3 vs Wichita Falls*, 7 (home)
Oct. 10 at Chisholm Trail*, 7
Oct. 16 vs Denton*, 7
Oct. 24 at Brewer*, 7
Oct. 31 at Boswell*, 7
Nov. 7 vs Azle*, 7