Getting input from the head football coach, Coach Collins, before the game that starts at 7:30, he says, “Based off the first game, I believe we’re going to do well. We compete, the guys worked hard all summer long, they match up well against them, there an established 7-8 program but I think we have a chance to compete hopefully we come out on top.”
With a couple of off the head picks he describes some players that have been striding who are Chase Begin (12th grade) with a new offensive system at quarter back, Amhere Morrison (10th grade) running back, Scotty Rutherford in secondary, Kofi Reeves-Miller in linebacker, probably one of our strongest players and one of the best players in the state this year.
When asked about the players comfort level with the first game of a new season he says, “There’s always nerves because it’s the first game of the season with a new coach along with everyone being anxious and the boys eager to do well for themselves, for the school, and for the community and I think they understand that they represent all that stuff.” He thinks with all that responsibility comes anxiety and he hopes that the anxiety turns into excitement and they relax a little more.
When talking about a good rookie to look out for next year he said, “We have a few but we have a 9th grader by the name Jackson Head, who is a two–sport athlete and he’s playing receiver for us, and he has been very impressive on the football field the past couple of weeks. I look for him to make his mark and to get his name known throughout the county and maybe throughout the state this year.”
Some of the strengths that Coach Collins sees is that the team so far is very competitive, and they are a close group. “They are probably the first group that I have been around where there is not a, lack for a better word, clique between the 9th, 10th, and 11th graders. You cannot see that separation with the grades. They are a very close group all the way from 9th to 12th grade,” Coach Collins says. He believes that this is one of their strong suits and it has been fun for him to watch this happen. There are also a lot of boys on the team who are leaders on the team and show leadership skills. Some of the weaknesses that he sees is that the boys put a lot of pressure on themselves and there are times that they approach things to where it seems like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. “I’m just trying to teach them to relax, it’s just a game, and everyone is going to make mistakes. Whether it’s good or bad, you have to put that play behind you and play the next play so I would have to name I guess a weakness that is something we have to get a little better at,” he states. He also brings up the fact on the team’s speed and how it could be better because it is a huge factor in the game.
Coach Collins was asked about what made him want to come and work at River Ridge and he had a lot to say on that. “I wanted to rebuild another program. I have been fortunate enough to be able to do it a couple of times and it is what I enjoy doing the most. Taking the underdog, the program that nobody is really picking to do a whole lot and making it a competitive situation and leaving it better than I found it. That was the first thing, an opportunity to build another program, this is home for me, I’m from this area and there is a lot of pros with me being able to take this position. Being close to home, rebuilding a program, and getting back to familiar grounds,” Collins says.
Edited & Written by: Leah Henry, Ben Powell & Kayla Bell