Riverdale looks to be serious contender in region face

Riverdale senior Xaylyn McKinnie (2) is a two-way starter for the Warriors at receiver and in the secondary. FILE

Talent, but equally important depth, have Riverdale poised to be a contender in the Region 3-6A race.

"We've got a lot of kids with experience and some good competition at the some positions right now," Riverdale coach Will Kriesky said. "It's tough to answer as far as expectations because we haven't had any game-type experiences. We haven't and won't have a scrimmage or 7-on-7.

"We feel coming in that we can be very competitive in every game as long our seniors stay positive and healthy. We have expectations for a good season this year, but you've got to go through Oakland."

The Warriors are coming off a 7-4 season and 20-14 first-round playoff loss to Mt. Juliet. They'll open the season at Clarksville Northeast, a team they beat 42-16 last year, on Aug. 21.

"We're just glad we're going to have a season," Kriesky said, "and we're glad that we're starting on time."

OFFENSE

The Warriors' strengths should be their offensive line and wide receiver, but the remaining skill players possess a lot of talent despite limited experience.

Junior Jameson Holcomb and sophomore Kade Hewitt are battling for the starting quarterback spot. Holcomb did see some action last season.

Junior Marcus Lloyd, Brandon Connard and Braden Woodruff are competing for the starting running back job, but all three should get plenty of carries this season.

"Holcomb has started just one game and we've got to get settled in at running back," Kriesky said. "The nerve racking thing at times is we've had no scrimmages.

"We have three guys competing for one spot but any three could be a starter on any given week. The tough part is getting them all the ball. They all will play on defense, so hopefully they won't have to play back-to-back series."

The offensive line features seniors Christian Stapleton, Jaylen Weist, Alex Vitanonio, Jarod Russell, Geroge Psychoularis, Jalen Jenkins and junior Jelani Lyles.

"We feel good about our kids and the depth we've got," Kriesky said. "We need to stay healthy and develop another tight end because Alex Mitchell also is a starting linebacker."

At receiver, Riverdale returns a talent group that includes seniors C.J. Johnson, Xaylyn McKinnie and juniors Mackey Bonds, Mark Yancey and Antonio Woodard.

DEFENSE

Kriesky is excited about the defensive line's potential as it returns senior Javon Edwards, senior Zach Thomas, junior Javon Nelson, Lyles, senior Jaylen Wiest, senior Jalen Jenkins and Psychoularis.

"I think up front out defensive line is the most experience and most talented we've had," Kriesky said. "We're are replacing three (defensive backs) and with no 7-on-7s we'll have to clean up our back end and it will be day-by-day and week-by-week adjustments."

The secondary will include Bonds, McKinnie, D'Andrew Donaldson, Johnson, Woodruff, Ben Ferguson and Bradon Corn.

At linebacker, the Warriors have good depth on the outside and inside in junior Elijah Herring, sophomore Caleb Herring, Lloyd, sophomore Isaac Oglesby, Mitchell, junior Tomorrius Smith and junior Isaiah Knox.

"We're excited about defense as a hole, but we won't have live competition until Week 1," Kriesky said. "We also spent a lot of June and July on special teams, but again we really won't have live looks until our first game."

PROJECTED STARTERS

OFFENSE

QB: Jamison Holcomb (Jr.), Kade Hewitt (Soph.)

RB: Marucs Lloyd (Jr.), Brandon Connard (Jr.), Braden Woodruff (Jr.)

WR: CJ Johnson (Sr.), Xaylyn McKinnie (Sr.), Mackey Bonds (Jr.), Mack Yancey (Jr.), Antonio Woodard (Jr.)

OL: Christian Stapleton (Sr.), Jaylen Weist (Sr.), Alex Vitantonio (Sr.), Jelani Lyles (Jr.), Jarod Russell (Sr.), George Psychoularis (Sr.), Jalen Jenkins (Sr.)

TE: Alec Mitchell (Jr.), Kade Hewitt (Soph.)

DEEFENSE

DL: Javon Edwards (Sr.), George Psychoularis (Sr.), Zach Thomas (Sr.), Jelani Lyles (Jr.), Javon Nelson (Sr.), Jaylen Wiest (Sr.), Jalen Jenkins (Sr.)

OLB: Elijah Herring (Jr.), Caleb Herring (Soph.), Marcus Lloyd (Jr.), Isaac Oglesby (Soph.)

ILB: Alex Mitchell (Jr.), Tomorrius Smith (Jr.), Isaiah Knox (Jr.)

DB: Mackey Bonds (Jr.) , Xaylyn McKinnie , D'Andrew Donaldson (Jr.), CJ Johnson (Sr.), Braden Woodruff (Jr.), Ben Ferguson (Sr.), Brandon Corn (Jr.)

SPECIALIST

K: Alberto Zarate (Sr.)

P: Julian Herrera (Jr.)

2020 SCHEDULE

8/21: at Clarksville NE

8/28: Franklin

9/4: Cookeville

9/11: Smyrna

9/18: at Rockvale

9/25: at Blackman

10/2: Siegel

10/9: OPEN

10/16: Oakland

10/23: at Warren County

10/30: at Coffee County

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