WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Our Training Camp Road Trip reaches Class 5A, starting with the Rider Raiders!
While they did reach the playoffs last year, for the seventh-straight season, they only won four games and they're looking to be better in 2017.
That starts at quarterback, with senior Jorge Vargas. He split time a year ago with Willie Cherry, now he's the starter and a real leader on the team.
"He's kinda taken charge of not just the offense, but the team," said head coach Marc Bindel. "And he looks really good. This is the best I've seen him. He's in shape, his arm looks good, he's accurate. And he's got full grasp of the offense."
"He gets our team going, pretty much," said senior linebacker Jayson Myles. "He makes sure everybody does what they have to do, makes sure everybody's in line. Jorge is a really good player, a really good leader."
Vargas has a new weapon this season, in Petrolia transfer Jake Edgemon. He was an All-State receiver for the Pirates last year, catching for over 1,400 yards and 17 touchdowns. But apparently, none of that mattered when he first met coach Bindel.
"I don't get to watch a lot of football on Friday nights, because we're also playing all the time as well," Bindel said. "So, I didn't know who Jake Edgemon was. He showed up this summer, enrolled at Rider, said, 'Hey I play receiver.' I said, 'Oh, ok, well...'"
"He brings a jump-ball that we can throw up to him," Vargas said. "And then athletically, he's a real good athlete. He's good off the screens, and then obviously he's good on the post, too."
The defense is led by two-time All-District pick Danari Curry at cornerback.
"He's really aggressive on our team," Myles said. "Really aggressive defensive back. He brings in a lot. I know he has my back, so in case I mess up, he's there. So he's really a brother to me."
"He's been on varsity for three years," Vargas said. "He played up as a freshman. So I mean, with his experience and him being a leader like he is on the varsity, it helps us a lot on the defensive side."
They're hoping his leadership, and that new mindset, will help a defense that allowed 38 points per game a year ago.
"From that first scrimmage, I could really tell that our defense was flying to the ball," Vargas said. "And we just played with an edge on our shoulders, and I think that we're ready."
The Raiders open their season Friday night, on the road at #18 Mansfield Legacy. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
Friday night at 6, we'll wrap up our Training Camp Road Trip with the Wichita Falls High School Coyotes.
Rider Raiders 2017 Schedule
Sept. 1 at Mansfield Legacy, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 8 at Lubbock Coronado, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Amarillo Palo Duro, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 22 vs Kennedale, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 vs Sherman, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 6 at Wichita Falls, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 13 vs Denison, 7 p.m.*
Oct. 20 BYE
Oct. 26 vs Denton, 7 p.m.*
Nov. 2 vs Denton Braswell, 7 p.m.*
Nov. 9 at Denton Ryan, 7 p.m.*