Knights ready for historic season|Will be a season of firsts for newly formed school

Published 8:27 am Wednesday, August 4, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
WILLIAMSTON — The first chapter of the Riverside football team began on Monday as head coach Asim McGill led his newly formed Knights in their first official practice in the school’s history.
Upon the 2010 graduation, Williamston High School merged with Jamesville High School, closing the book on each school’s respective legacy and forming a new one draped in navy, silver and white.
McGill, the former coach of the Williamston Tigers, a team that finished 10-3 last season while garnering a 1-A playoff win, said that he was thrilled to be a part of the school’s history.
“I definitely feel the excitement because it’s a first,” McGill said. “It will be a whole season of firsts: The first coach ever in Riverside football history, then it will be the first basketball game, etc. I’m going to really sell that to the kids. They will be in the first game, they will be in the record books and they can either be in the first win or the first loss in their first game.”
Aside from the future record books, another first for McGill and his staff is the large number of kids that came out to practice.
“We’ve had a lot of kids come out here, it’s the most I have ever seen come out since I have been here,” McGill said. “(Monday night) we had 61 kids come out for (JV and varsity) football practice. Every year that I have been here we have had about 53, but I think when it’s all said and done we could have around 75 kids.”
When two schools merge there is always a threat of chemistry issues, but so far McGill has had no problems with players meshing together.
“I think the kids have gotten along fine,” McGill said. “Everybody is getting along fine and doing a great job.”
McGill may have a record number of kids coming out for his team, but there is one player who is not coming back who is nearly impossible to replace in running back Cedric Moody. Moody, last season’s WDN Player of the Year, was a scoring machine and the driving force behind the Tigers’ offense.
This year the Knights will have to rely more on returning quarterback Luke Mathews, along with some other faces old and new to pick up the slack.
“We lost six guys on offense, so I guess you could say we aren’t reloading, we are more rebuilding,” McGill said. “We got a few guys back. Our leading receiver is back in K.J. Brown, who caught about 60 balls last season. My quarterback is back, plus one of my running backs who got some time last year in Quinton Lawrence is back.”
With an influx of kids from Jamesville helping fill out the roster, McGill felt comfortable that there will be a lot more quality players on his team, but said it will take some time to get familiar with them.
“We definitely got a lot of kids that we are excited about, but it’s hard to say right now because we are just running around,” McGill said. “To be honest, we won’t be able to fully evaluate the players until we get the pads on and find out who wants to hit. Sometimes we get the guys who look good at the combine, they run a good 40 and have a good vertical, but until they get the pads on we really can’t evaluate.”