Tuesday, 25 February 2020 22:35

Till calls Raider football the 'front porch' of Richmond County

Written by
Rate this item
(1 Vote)
Raider football coach Bryan Till delivers his annual State of the Program address on Tuesday. Raider football coach Bryan Till delivers his annual State of the Program address on Tuesday. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — When the Richmond Senior High School football program does well, so does the surrounding Richmond County community.

That was the message from head coach Bryan Till during his third annual State of the Program address on Tuesday. Using the analogy that the football program is the “front porch” of Richmond County, Till laid out the vision for the team during the upcoming season.

In front of dozens of Raider fans, top officials from Richmond County Schools, including superintendent Dr. Jeff Maples, several Board of Education members and booster club president Patrick Chappell, Till continued expanding his program’s roots within the county.

“The big thing is everyone benefits when the football program benefits,” Till said. “Whether we’re talking about the band on Friday nights, or the cheerleaders or our student body, when our community comes together, that’s huge.

“All of these things are representative,” he continued. “When (Raider) football grows, the whole community has the chance to benefit because we can be the front porch of the entire county.”

Unveiling the new slogan for the forthcoming calendar football year as “Don’t Stop Till It’s Finished,” Till explained that the idea s rooted in the program’s on and off-the-field successes this past fall. 

He highlighted some of the bigger moments of 2019, including the program’s 500th all-time win, 14 seniors committing to play at the collegiate level, a 3.09 team grade point average, the new MUSCO LED lighting system, improved game attendance and a larger social media presence.

Till also noted the team’s 13-1 overall record, its second straight Sandhills Athletic Conference championship and finishing as the 4A West region runner-up.

Continuing to be the keystone of the program is the moniker of “make your link strong,” and the basis of that, Till noted, is to keep building “championship men in all phases of life.”

He added that in order to do this, Richmond County needs to continue to “invest in our young men” and engage in the “chain philosophy” that incorporates “all elements of our community coming together.”

Also introduced during the presentation were the 12 members of the 2020 Raider Leadership Council, a program entering its third season. The initiative is geared toward developing players as leaders on and off the field through a series of meetings and activities throughout the course of the fall.

This year’s members are rising seniors Jakolbe Baldwin (WR), Jaron Coleman (RB), Jaleel Davis (OL), Caleb Hood (QB), Tremel Jones (WR), Austin Moore (OL), CJ Tillman (LB), Amir Webb (DB) and Caleb Wilson (OL), as well as rising juniors Jamari Broady (DB), Kellan Hood (WR) and JD Lampley (NT).

“We have a great representation of guys who have played three or four years,” Till said of the new group. “There are guys who are looking to earn a spot this year by doing everything right. They all contribute to different phases of the game.

“The idea is we have both rising seniors and juniors represented by guys who can relate to their teammates and lead them in the right direction,” he added.

One thing new this offseason was to have the players apply for the Leadership Council through an application process, and the coaching staff took grades and character into consideration.

Moving onto the bulk of the presentation, Till noted the Raider football program has moved past its “pivotal point” from a year ago, and that it’s now transitioning from “good to great.” A new question he posed was how to continue to achieve excellence instead of just existing.

The answer is a five-step process that Till believes starts with “nourishing the roots” of the program. Where he wants to see most of the energy put is through new facilities, coach and player development, gate receipts, feeder programs and booster club involvement.

Following that is the “front porch philosophy” that puts the Raider program at the forefront of the community, allowing locals and outsiders to see the economic, professional and developmental opportunities in Richmond County. Part of that is allowing the community to “gain a statewide and national audience.”

He closed the address by adding the final three steps: systemic decision making, involving a variety of community organizations, and setting a statewide example for what a high school football program should embody.

To watch the entire State of the Program address, click here.

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

Twitter: ROSports_

Instagram: ROSports