Speed will be on the Red Devils’ side.
Richmond wants to quicken the pace on offense, and utilize its quickness on defense.
“I think our defense is going to be fun to watch this year,” said junior Alston Bane, one of the state’s leaders in interceptions a year ago. “We have a lot of athletes on the field.”
The Red Devils seek to use that athleticism to hurry up on offense.
RHS has options. Senior Jordan Christian returns at quarterback, healthy after battling injury his junior campaign, with Parker Holland anchoring the backfield.
Holland rushed for just shy of 1,000 yards last season, finishing with 996 and five touchdowns.
Christian’s options at receiver include Dre Davis (279 yards and three scores in 2014), Michi Davis, Zach Smith and Dasean Jones.
“I love the offense,” Dre Davis said. “It keeps the defense on their toes.”
Looking to keep Richmond’s running backs moving forward is a revamped offensive line that is coming together.
Tanner Coyle, Ryan Shuminoff, Colton Davis, Gavin Farrar and Alex Bradburn comprise the line, with Coyle and Shuminoff returning starters.
“We’ve been a little bit short on linemen and we’ve moved some people around,” said RHS coach Matt Holeva, leading the Red Devils for a fourth season. “It’s starting to come together with the offensive line a little bit. We feel pretty good about our skill guys and now it’s going to be a matter of establishing some stability with the offensive line.
“We’re a little thin at some spots, but I think our No. 1s are pretty good. They are going to compete and give everything that they’ve got. At this point it’s just kind of a matter, as it is with everybody, we’re just waiting to hit somebody else and see what happens.”
Coyle and Bradburn will see time on the other side of the football as defensive tackles. Kobe Walker and Ryan Yates will play at defensive end, with Grant Bowersock, Kobe Murphy, Jawuan Claiborne and Torrie Mayberry also factoring into the defensive mix.
“It’s a big year, senior year,” Coyle said. “We’re just trying to be better than last year’s team … trying to get better every year. Championships are the goal.”
Bane, Tevin Brown and Ron Sanders will give the Red Devils help in the secondary. Bane had eight interceptions as a sophomore, along with 60 tackles.
Bowersock made 69 stops last season, with Bradburn adding 47 and Yates 38.
Bowersock, Yates and Bradburn all had three sacks.
“One key is going to be our defensive speed overall,” Holeva said. “We’re not real big, but I feel like we have some pretty good speed on defense that will hopefully show up on the field.”
Added Bane: “Get stops. Make the other team punt the ball. We don’t want anybody to get past the 50-yard line. We just want to get stops and put our offense back on the field and help them have good position on the field.”
That would be fine with Christian, who started for the Red Devils under center as a sophomore.
He helped RHS win the second of back-to-back outright North Central Conference championships that season, a title the Red Devils aim to contend for once again in 2015.
“It’s been a long summer,” Christian said. “Our whole team has put a lot of work in. We’re ready to finally hit somebody else now.
“We have really good speed, so we’re going to be able to move up and down the field. … The big thing is our linemen. They can get a lot of push for our back, Parker, to get through. … To have a running game, it puts the defense in a bind and gives me more of an open window to throw to our receivers.”
Richmond finished 5-5 a year ago and were 4-3 in the NCC, tied for fifth in the 10-team conference with Muncie Central.
The Red Devils open play Friday vs. Connersville — RHS is 2-0 against the Spartans after resuming the rivalry in 2013 — before traveling to face New Palestine, last year’s Class 4A state champion, on Aug. 28.
Richmond welcomes Indianapolis Tech into the NCC with a Sept. 4 game at Lyboult Field. The Red Devils also face defending NCC champ McCutcheon, a perfect 7-0 a year ago, on the road on Sept. 25.
“It’s going to be real important to get off to a good start against Connersville, and then a pretty daunting task taking on a defending state champ in Week 2,” Holeva said.
But it’s a task the Red Devils relish. They have put in their time over the summer, seeing success at 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 events.
“We’re really starting to come along. This summer really helped us out,” Coyle said. “The defense is coming together. Offense, we’re clicking now and starting to roll. We have the fast pace. It’s really going to help us.”
Getting back to the top of the NCC is one goal for the Red Devils. Postseason success is another.
Richmond has won 25 NCC championships and two IHSAA sectional crowns. The Red Devils were mythical state champions in 1951, 1952, 1956 and 1967.
“We should be up there in the NCC, but everybody strives for a state championship,” Mayberry said.
Josh Chapin: (765) 973-4463 firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/JoshChapinPI
RICHMOND RED DEVILS
AT A GLANCE
• Head coach: Matt Holeva (20-11 in fourth year at RHS, 81-34 in 12th year overall)
• Assistants: Ryan Halloran, Jay Lee, Jeremy Bane, Tyler Greene, Matt Tucker, Maurice Hibbler, Blake Babcock, C.J. Nightingale, Michael Ingram, Cody Eyerman
• Key losses: Nate Trawick, Auntonio Brown, Colin Walls, Jordan Pennington
• Key returnees: Jordan Christian, Parker Holland, Alston Bane, Tanner Coyle, Ryan Shuminoff
• Aug. 21: Connersville
• Aug. 28: at New Palestine
• Sept. 4: Indianapolis Tech*
• Sept. 11: at Muncie Central*
• Sept. 18: Marion*
• Sept. 25: at McCutcheton*
• Oct. 2: Lafayette Jeff*
• Oct. 9: at Anderson*
• Oct. 16: Kokomo*
* — NCC Game
Grant Bowersock 5-11, 185, RB/LB
Alex Bradburn 6-1, 255, OL/DL
Nick Brown 5-8, 180, WR/DB
Tevin Brown 5-9, 170, WR/DB
Jordan Christian 6-1, 195, QB/DB
Dylan Collins 5-11, 170, K/DB
Tanner Coyle 6-2, 245, OL/DL
Dre Davis 5-9, 160, RB/LB
Michi Davis 6-2, 175, WR/DB
Kenneth Gibson 5-9, 170, WR/DB
Parker Holland 5-9, 185, RB/LB
Torrie Mayberry 5-11, 185, RB/DB
Kobe Murphy 5-11, 180, OL/LB
Ryan Shuminoff 6-2, 250, OL/DL
Zach Smith 5-11, 180, WR/DB
Robert Tevis 6-2, 175, WR/DB
Kobe Walker 6-0, 190, RB/LB
Ryan Yates 6-3, 190, OL/DL
Zach Adams 5-11, 190, OL/DL
Alston Bane 5-10, 170, WR/DB
Jawuan Claiborne 5-11, 170, RB/DB
Justin Edwards 5-10, 170, OL/DL
Neville Edwards 5-10, 150, WR/DB
Gavin Farrar 5-11, 200, OL/LB
Stephen Hazelbaker 5-8, 165, OL/DL
Brandon Hughes 5-8, 150, WR/DB
Dasean Jones 5-11, 170, WR/DB
Deonte Redman 5-7, 195, RB/LB
Thomas Stanley 5-9, 150, WR/DB
Aaron Thomas 6-2, 240, OL/DL
Michael Wheeler 5-10, 205, OL/DL
Joshawn Williams 6-0, 220, OL/DL
Cody Barker 5-10, 170, OL/DL
Colton Davis 6-5, 255, OL/DL
Jerrell Deloney 5-5, 140, QB/DB
Levi Ellis 5-7, 180, RB/LB
Jim Gifford 5-7, 315, OL/DL
Shay Hall 6-6, 290, OL/DL
Joseph Hobbs 5-9, 170, RB/LB
Deandre Lynch 6-0, 240, OL/DL
Nathan Parker 5-9, 175, RB/LB
Conner Ross 5-8, 160, QB/DB
Ron Sanders 5-9, 170, RB/DB
Billy Schutte-Mitchell 5-5, 185, OL/DL
Dalton Swank 5-6, 160, WR/LB
Alex Thornburg 5-9, 200, OL/DL
Kaleb Wages 5-7, 330, OL/DL
Duncan Weber 5-7, 290, OL/DL
5-5 overall, 4-3 NCC (5th)
• at Connersville 27-14 W
• New Palestine 42-6 L
• at Huntington North 21-13 L
• Muncie Central 34-19 W
• at Marion 43-25 W
• McCutcheon 56-12 L
• at Lafayette Jeff 21-19 W
• Anderson 35-14 W
• at Kokomo 32-22 L
• Indianapolis Cathedral 49-13 L (sect.)