This is a very interesting opening week matchup taking place in Rockingham. Clayton enters this contest very talented, but they’ve also had a very tumultuous off-season, one that has seen the program come under scrutiny for recruiting and grade changing allegations, and has since seen principal Bennett Jones removed, and head football coach Hunter Jenks step down.
Richmond, on the other hand has had a tremendous summer, and has looked very strong in 7-on-7’s, and their preseason scrimmages, and the Raiders are anxious to improve upon last year’s 11-2 record.
Both of these programs have exceptional coaching staffs and are also both blessed with extremely high player participation numbers, and both have a great tradition of excellence over time.
The Comets are led by Zay Peterson, a three-star safety that committed to Louisville, and transferred to Clayton from Hartsville (S.C.) after helping lead the Red Foxes to a 12-1 record last season. Jalen Chadwick, who had 926 all-purpose yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior at Cleveland HS is expected to be a focal point of the Comets offense. Chadwick is a 5-foot-9, 180-pound running back who has great feet, quickness, and strength to be an every-down back.
The Raiders return Caleb Hood (Jr.) at quarterback, who already has over 4,000 career passing yards and 37 touchdowns to just 9 interceptions. In addition to a big arm, he’s shown the ability to move the ball well with his feet, as he’s accounted for 869 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.
Jahiem Covington (Sr.) was last year’s leading rusher for the Raiders with 1174 yards and 22 rushing touchdowns, and Jakolbe Baldwin (Jr.) and Dalton Stroman (Jr.) are the top returning receivers, and Kellan Hood (So.) has great potential for a breakout season.
On paper, this game has potential to be a very entertaining one for the fans, but the Clayton players will have to adapt to playing in front the hostile Richmond fans, as Raider Stadium is traditionally a very intimidating place for opposing teams.
Both of these teams have the potential to make very deep runs in the postseason, so be certain to check this game out.
Bryan Till is entering his third season as the head coach at Richmond, and he’s posted a 60-41 overall record.