One more time, Richmond will make the trip to St. Leon to open its football season with East Central.
Since 1997, the Red Devils have opened with the Trojans. No more after this season, though, as RHS will start its 2013 campaign with Connersville.
Richmond’s last win against East Central came in 2002.
“It’s a tough place to start, but we have to do it and as seniors we have to keep focused,” said Richmond’s Jimmy Bailey.
East Central finished 9-2 last season. While the Trojans and Red Devils may not be scheduled to meet in the regular season past 2012, it’s entirely possible the squads could meet in the postseason. Both are in Class 4A Sectional 15.
Tim Behlmer is in his second season as head coach at East Central, but he was a longtime assistant for the program and was also head coach there from 1999-2001.
“The expectation is we’re going to go play hard and play to the best of our ability,” said RHS coach Matt Holeva. “East Central is a heck of a ball club. They have a great tradition and it’s a great program. We’re trying to right the ship here and move forward.
“What we’re looking for is to know our assignments, minimize our mistakes and play tough, physical football on both sides of the ball.”
Friday night marks the first game for Holeva as Richmond’s head coach. He spent 15 years as an assistant with the Red Devils before becoming Centerville’s head coach in 2004.
East Central is ranked ninth in Class 4A’s preseason poll. New Palestine, Richmond’s Week 2 opponent at Lyboult Field, is third and received first-place votes.
East Central won last year’s meeting 41-7 at Lyboult. The Trojans have used a power running game in the past — and they did rack up more than 270 yards on the ground in 2011 — but they also had three passing touchdowns. It was East Central’s ninth consecutive win over RHS, and Tyler Douthit paced the Trojan offense by rushing for more than 200 yards.
“They’re a typical East Central ball club — big, strong, physical kids, disciplined,” Holeva said. “They’re well coached. You try taking out the run by loading up the boxes and they have the ability of throwing the ball. We know we’ll have to play our best to try and come away with a victory.”