Can anyone fly?

Published 6:00 pm Thursday, August 4, 2011

Riverside head coach Asim McGill looks on as his team begins practice at Riverside High School. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

WILLIAMSTON — The search for a quarterback is on at Riverside. For the last two years Asim McGill’s offense was led by two-time WDN all-area first-teamer Luke Mathews, and during that time the football traveled through the air more than Delta. However, with the graduation of Mathews, the Knights now need to find a new pilot.
Former JV quarterback Chris Parrish was being groomed for the position, but his transfer to North Pitt has opened the door for juniors Ryan Wagner and Matt Wisniewski to try apply for the job.
“Both the kids we’re looking at, at quarterback have never played quarterback in a varsity game,” McGill said. “They’re gaining experience so as a coach I just have to be patient and understand that I have been spoiled by having a guy there for two years.”
Last year Riverside finished 10-3 and made it to the second round of the playoffs. How far the Knights go this year may just depend on how much production they get from their signal-caller.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how those guys develop and grow,” McGill said. “The reason why we have been successful is that we do something that most 1-A teams we play don’t do: we throw the football. Most teams on this level don’t throw the football. We have to be able to throw the football to be successful.
“Last year I looked at the stats and Luke threw for over 1,900 yards which was the second-most out of any 1-A quarterback in the state. That’s something we want to continue to do, so I’m going to put the pressure on those guys so that we can continue to do that. But, as a coach you have to be able to adjust to what those guys can do.”
The Knights will also have to adjust to what could be a slightly different defense. However, while some things change, some things always stay the same and though the team might use a few different looks, its goal of getting to the quarterback will never waver.
“Defensively, they way we play we can usually plug people in. If you’re aggressive and you’re not afraid to hit you can play defense for us. We’ve been a 4-3 the past couple of years but we’re going to mix it up a little bit,” McGill said. “I think it depends on what your personnel is, but I think we’re going to be 3-4 multiple.”
Riverside had 55 athletes show up for camp this week but the numbers could go up by next week. The team returns three starters on defense and three on offense. Notable return players include WDN all-area first-team wideout Ramelle Lanier and LB Thurman Collier, along with Jadarian Brown. At 6-2, 235 pounds Brown can be a handful, and this year he will get a crack running back. If Brown proves he can handle the job, he could be a great asset to whoever takes the snaps for the Knights. A solid running game can be a passer’s best friend, while his big frame should help out immensely in pass protection.
Riverside will get some answers to all these preseason questions on Aug. 10, when it hosts Northeastern, Pasquotank and Plymouth in a scrimmage slated to begin at 6 p.m.