By Bryan Davis
For anyone on the outside looking in, three wins for a team that played with less than 18 players all season seems like overachieving. That’s not how the Raiders look at it now, and it’s not how they’ve looked at it throughout the 2010 season.
After getting off to an 0-4 start, the Raiders knew that numbers were not the problem. They knew they were a better team than the one that showed up that first month.
There was never an excuse from the Raiders, as they got it together in the next two weeks, and proved to everyone that they could play and win at this level.
“One of the things that we talked about this week is how we had not let the numbers be an excuse,” said Oak Hill head coach Leroy Gregg said. “They just haven’t.”
The Raiders won back-to-back games in weeks six and seven, one a very important district win against Carroll. That put them back in the hunt for a playoff spot, somewhere no one thought they would be after week four’s 61-6 loss to Leake.
“We were proud of that part of it,” Gregg said. “We weren’t looking for reasons why things didn’t go well. We just got out there and played hard. I was awfully proud about that.”
After the next two weeks rolled on, the Raiders would eventually fall in district play to Manchester, resting all of their playoff hopes on Friday night’s game against Winston. The 2010 bunch played a game they can be proud of against Winston.
Matched up against, probably the most physical team in the district, Oak Hill gave them all the fight they had on Friday before losing.
“When you’re playing any level of football with 15 kids, if it’s not pass-touch in the back yard, you’re asking an awful lot out of your kids,” Gregg said. “They knew what it was going in, and we had great effort from them all year.”
The Raiders have a very promising team returning next year, including a host of sophomores that will be one year older and a lot more competitive. Jeb Stevens and Conner Baird are both sophomores who split time at quarterback this season.
Phillip Liu and Chance Livingston have run the ball well, and they will be juniors in 2011 as well. The Oak Hill roster sports six players who will be seniors as well.