RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) - The Richmond Hill Wildcats had the best season in program history a year ago.
The Cats won eight straight games en route to the school’s first state semifinal appearance.
“We caught lightning in a bottle last year and we had a special season,” head coach Matt LeZotte says. “We saw the impact that it had on our school, the impact that it had on our community, the impact that it had on us as a family. We’re not ready to relinquish that yet.”
But as impactful and special as 2019 was, this team knows it could’ve been even better. The season ended in heartbreaking fashion with an overtime loss in the semis, something this team hasn’t forgotten.
“We did what a whole bunch of other teams did: went home crying. Went home crying. We didn’t win nothing,” says senior defensive lineman Shaquan Brooks. “Yeah, we made it to the final four or wherever we made it to last year, I can’t even remember. It does not matter. This year we’re trying to get a ring and put Richmond Hill on the map.”
Now as they hope to build on the historic season, The Wildcats don’t plan on surprising anyone with their gameplan. LeZotte says his team will be led by their experienced and talented offensive and defensive lines.
“We’ve tried to build our team around the line of scrimmage for the last three years,” LeZotte says. “Teams that are successful in high school football win the line of scrimmage, make very few mistakes there. That’s a strength of ours.”
The Wildcats lost Jalen Rouse, who finished tenth in the state with 1742 rushing yards in 2019, to graduation. Rouse also ran for 24 touchdowns. But LeZotte is excited about the skill players who are returning.
“We return multiple quarterbacks, multiple receivers, multiple running backs,” LeZotte says. “We lost Jalen Rouse, but we have guys in the backfield that are going to field that void.”
Rising senior running back. A’Shaud Roberson is most likely to carry the load in 2020, after averaging more than six yards a carry and scoring six touchdowns a year ago.
The Wildcats open the season hosting Camden County on September 4.