In football, like much of athletics, intangibles can carry a football team. Beyond the X’s and O’s and the formation, a team can use something far less talked obvious to others outside the program.
Riverfield has been one of those teams. The Raiders developed a revamped, grueling summer workout program under the direction of assistant coach Kyle Stracener and head coach Boyd Cole that has made big differences late in ball games, helping the Raiders to a 2-0 record as they head to Coushatta to play Riverdale Friday at 7 p.m.
“We have not had to play a lot of people into shape,” Cole said. “Most of our guys showed up in the fall in shape, ready to go. Our booster club stepped up in a big way this year. We needed some new weight racks in our weight room, where we sometimes had seven kids to one rack. It would take three hours to get a workout in for all our guys. They got those racks for us, which has been great. Everyone has made this a real team effort and been supportive of our program.”
The strength program has brought a lot of young kids along in a hurry for the Raiders.
“We have been able to play a lot of kids, I think 27 different kids played last week,” Cole said. “Most teams in this league have to play kids both ways. Riverdale has 10 players going both ways. We believe our conditioning will take over in the second half if we can keep things close going into halftime.”
By contrast, the Raiders have built up great depth on both sides of the ball.
We have just two playing both ways right now. That has been big for us. When you play so many guys, the players on your team stay engaged during practice and during the game.”
Something else that Cole notes about Riverdale is the Rebels have gotten a lot better despite a 0-2 start to the season.
“They are faster,” Cole said. “We saw them play in the spring against River Oaks and they have gotten a lot better.”
“We had key turnovers (against Central-Hinds) that hurt us,” Cole said. “Those are things we can’t continue to do. It killed two good drives for us.”
Connect with Cody on Twitter @cfutrellTNS
Riverfield (2-0) at Riverdale (0-2)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last week: Riverfield defeated Central-Hinds, 19-18. Riverdale lost to Glenbrook 28-22.
Who/What to watch: Riverfield rolled up 329 yards of offense last week including QB Tristan Oswald going 7 of 10 for 82 yards and one touchdown.
Get in the game: Riverfield won the 2013 meeting with Riverdale, 48-6.