Our High School Football Training Camp Road Trip wraps up with a look at the Rider Raiders!
Ranked #20 in the preseason Dave Campbell's Texas Football poll, they think they're primed for a big season!
The Raiders made it to the Regional Semifinals in Coach Marc Bindel's first season as head coach. Coming into the 2015 season, Coach Bindel is settled in and the players can see it.
"You can just tell the difference," said senior linebacker Dylan Mihecoby. "It's a completely different setting. He's more hype, it's a lot more fun."
"He's really kind of got comfortable this year," said senior receiver T.J. Vasher, who is committed to play at Texas Tech. "Everybody is kind of just rolling with him now. And everything just feels really good."
This season the Raiders will be breaking in another new quarterback, they have two players battling it out to start, and both could see playing time this season under center.
"It's a good problem for us to have right now, to have two quarterbacks that are up for one starting job," Vasher said. "So it's just real good, they're out there competing and just working."
"Both are looking pretty even," said senior defensive back Gage Dean, who gets to see them each day in practice. "It's going to be a hard decision for the coaches to see who gets to play."
"It just comes down to making plays," Coach Bindel said. "And if the guys are even we don't have to settle it right now. We have non-district games that we want to get ready for district, and so they're all going to play non district and we're going to continue to move from there. And if they are both really good then they both are really going to play a lot."
Whoever wins the job will have a nice offense to run, with a talented offensive line to protect him and Vasher on the outside, to go up and catch jump-balls.
"We're going to start five senior offensive lineman, and so we're really going to lean heavily on those guys," Bindel said. "Whether it's in the run game or the passing protection, they will be the strength of our offense."
"We've got a lot of threats," said senior receiver and defensive back Dashawn Stevenson. "You already know about T.J., then we got me, Vernard [Trammel] and we've got the running back position doing good. So I think we are going to have multiple threats this year."
On defense, the Raiders want to use their speed to fly around and wreak havoc on the opposing team's offense.
"Be very aggressive and physical," Dean said. "We should always be the aggressors on the field."
"We're always going to be aggressive, hard hitters and swarm to the ball," Mihecoby said. "We always want to be quick."
"We've kind of continuing the tradition of a Rider defense that files to the football, and that's kind of what we want," Bindel added. "We're teaching speed and we're teaching aggressiveness. And so we want to play the best eleven guys that are no holds barred, and are going to fly to the football."
With the talent on this team, the Rider Raiders want to get the gold ball from District 5-5A, and make a state title run.
"I feel like we can really be district champions," Vasher said. "I feel like we shouldn't lose a game in district this year. We look really good. I just feel like we should dominate across the board this year."