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The Raiders will enter this season with a lot of returning athletes and youth with a desire to return to the state playoffs.

Riverdale’s first season under Rodney Hackney went well. The Raiders returned to the state playoffs and brought in a new era of Riverdale football. However, there is no more Jaelyn Lay with the program but it’s worth seeing running back Phalon Daniels and quarterback Avaun Rucker on the field.

“At the end of the day, we’re judged by wins and losses,” Hackney said during media day. “Of course you want to make sure you win. That’s the ultimate goal for our fanbase. At the end of the day my overall success is what the kid becomes after he leaves Riverdale.”

On the outside, the Raiders did lose one of its biggest names on the field but of the returners, defensive weapon Chris Giles compiled 95 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 2018. The 7-4 record last season was a big momentum boost for the program that finished 1-9 the year before.

Quarterback Rucker will return after picking up the pace as a sophomore under center.

With talented running back Daniels picking up the running work once again, the senior will be tasked with carrying the team in 2019.

Defensively, Wykevious Thomas’ presence will be missed Walker’s absence will be felt, as he accounted for 13 tackles behind the line but Michael Scandrett should do well in filling the hole. Scandrett accounted for 16.5 tackles for loss last season.

“I’ve been blessed to have been in the state playoffs with three different teams,” Hackney said. “I hope I can make the playoffs these last five years, it’ll be great.”

Team Info

♦ Head Coach: Rodney Hackney (second season)

♦ 2018 Record: 7-4 (lost to Ware County in first round)

♦ Region: 3-AAAAA

♦ Last Playoff Appearance: 2018

Key Losses:♦ WR Jaelyn Lay, DL Wykevious Thomas

Key Returners:♦ WR Derwin Burgess Jr., RB Phalon Daniels, QB Avaun Rucker, LB Chris King


Aug. 23 North Clayton

Aug. 30 at Drew

Sept. 6 at Carrollton

Sept. 12 Miller Grove


Sept. 27 at McIntosh

Oct. 4 Fayette County


Oct. 18 at Jonesboro

Oct. 25 at Whitewater

Nov. 2 Starr’s Mill

Nov. 8 Griffin

Sports Editor

Graduated from South Carolina State University in 2015. Been with the Henry Herald and Clayton News in two capacities as a sports journalist and interim sports editor. SPJ member.

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