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MAHONE: Look for an improved Riverdale squad

Derrick Mahone

Derrick Mahone

RIVERDALE — It wasn’t the season that Riverdale had practiced and played for last season.

The expectations for 2013 were higher than a 4-6 finish that ended with a loss to Eagle’s Landing in the Region 4-AAAA play-in game.

Throw in the facts that the Raiders were coming off a state playoff appearance in 2012, their first since the ’05 season, and welcomed back 36 seniors last season, then you get a sense of those expectations.

But to throw in some caution, it was an almost completely new coaching staff. And some weren’t officially hired until well after most teams were fully entrenched in their summer workouts.

But first-year coach Terry Herrod wasn’t looking to make any excuses for last season. He admits that some mistakes were made, and some things could have been done differently.

Injuries played another big part in the team’s failure to reach the postseason.

But as the old saying goes, “there is no need to cry over spilled milk.”

The 2013 season has been put into the rearview mirror, and the focus is only on the upcoming season. And like most teams across the state, Riverdale is hard at work each morning getting better.

They are also participating in various 7-on-7 camps, tournaments and leagues. Riverdale is coming off what Herrod termed a good spring practice.

Now the transition is to continue to get better with each drill, tournament, camp and passing league game.

Summertime is where teams work on getting better and learning how to compete.

There has also been a brief shift in the Raiders’ approach this season with a new offensive coordinator. With the graduation of quarterback Greg Taylor and a trio of standout wide receivers, the Raiders look to establish the run more this season.

There are an abundance of talented players vying for playing time at the running back spot.

Rising sophomore Joseph Cambridge, a transfer from Drew, will lead the Raiders attack from the quarterback spot. Last year’s backup, Nathan Williams, who played in six games and started a couple, has been moved to defensive back.

Defensive end Chidi Okonya is expecting a breakout year as he comes into the season with 11 college offers.

There is reason to be excited again about the season for Riverdale. The team has talent — young talent that Herrod can build on.

With last year’s disappointment, expect the Raiders to be even more motivated about this year.

Derrick Mahone is the sports editor of the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at dmahone@news-daily.com. On Twitter? @DerrickMahone_.