By Jeffery Armstrong
A new era in Riverdale High School football has begun.
Nick Davis is the new head football coach at Riverdale and he has some big shoes to fill, coming in and replacing Rodney Hackney who guided the Raiders to three straight state playoff berths. Hackney is now the new football coach at Osborne High in Cobb County.
Davis, a Griffin native, came to Riverdale from Columbia High, where he was head football coach. Prior to that, Davis was assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Wayne County and was assistant and head coach at Burke County. He realizes that he has some work to do at Riverdale.
"Coach Hack did a great job here and I know I have to take care of business while I'm here," said Davis. "I hope to build off what he did and continue the winning tradition here at Riverdale."
Davis was very excited to come to Riverdale, figuring that he had a chance to do well with the caliber of players in the program.
"I knew that coming here was a good thing. If you can put together a solid coaching staff, you have an opportunity to be successful here," Davis said.
It may take a while for the Raiders to be as successful as they have been in the past. Davis said the Raiders will be a young ballclub this fall, as they have graduated several senior players over the last two years.
"The youth, especially on the offensive line, is a concern right now, but several of my young guys are pretty good," he said. "We are going to rely on guys like running backs Doug Jennings (a senior) and Kelvin Colbert (a junior) to help us get the young guys on the right track."
Davis said he will emphasize the running game and the defense in his schemes for the Raiders, especially since they'll be in the new Region 2-AAAAA. Teams in this new region will be powerhouse DeKalb County teams Stephenson, Douglass, Redan and up-and-comers Lithonia and Tri-Cities. Other teams in the region include Newton and county rival Morrow.
"The DeKalb teams are very athletic so we will definitely have to make sure we can keep up with them," Davis said. "We are going to run the flex offense, basically using the option. We want to stress ball control and take time off the clock."
Davis starts the team off with a film session and two-a-days focusing on lifting and conditioning on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 to 10 a.m. and 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m., the Raiders focus on lifting, conditioning and specific position drills.
Davis said he's averaging 55 players per day during the summer sessions, which isn't bad considering there's a new regime at the school. He said if the players keep on coming, Davis and the Raiders should do well enough to have the team compete in the fall.
"I'm pleased with the kids' turnout. I think we will do well enough to please the people who expect Riverdale to win," he said. "I'm not worried. I love what I do n I wake up every morning looking forward to coming to work coaching these kids."