GREENSBORO — It may not have been a regular-season game or even a contest that meant anything.
But for at least 20 minutes, Richmond Senior stood toe-to-toe and traded blows with Dudley, last season’s 4A champion, in Friday’s scrimmage in Greensboro.
Richmond found the end zone twice during the running clock as Luke Hoggard tossed two touchdowns. Dudley also found paydirt twice, once on a pick-6 and another on a long pass with seconds remaining in the scrimmage.
Following Wednesday’s scrimmage with South View, Richmond coach Paul Hoggard urged his team to continue to improve as it did from Monday’s practice with South Johnston.
On first glance, Hoggard believes the Raiders did make strides, but admitted it was difficult in the limited amount of snaps teams received during the scrimmage.
“I hope so, we will see the film and see what we did,” Coach Hoggard said. “It’s kind of hard to go in blind playing teams you didn’t know you would be going against and you don’t know what they’re going to be doing. We have a long way to go, hopefully after we watch film, we will see if we progressed since Wednesday.”
Richmond was originally slated to face both Dudley and West Mecklenburg for 10 plays, then return to the field for a live-game scrimmage against Dudley. The schedule changed and Richmond squared off with High Point Central and Northern Durham before taking on the host school.
Hoggard made the best of the situation and freely substituted players in and out of the lineup. He hopes these moves will pay dividends throughout the season.
“We played a bunch of kids and I thought a bunch of kids did some good things,” Hoggard said. “That’s the main thing. Even though it was a limited number of plays, we played a bunch of people in those 10 plays. We didn’t say OK and go with ones for those 10 plays. I know against Northern Durham, our whole second unit was in. They came in and did a good job, they took it down and scored a couple of times. It was good to see.
“Hopefully with what we did today, we were able to build some quality depth. I think that’s the encouraging thing I’m taking out of it, that we have been able to hopefully create some depth today.”
After stifling South View’s offense Wednesday, Hoggard continued to praise the new-look 3-4 defense but added there was an area that needs to improve before hitting the field next week against Rocky River in the season opener. The only offensive touchdown the Panthers recorded Friday was when Brandon Person-Boyd snagged a pass from Hendon Hooker and outran the Raider defense down the right sideline into the end zone.
“(We were) flying around pretty good, (but we) missed some tackles,” Hoggard said. “Had some plays in the backfield that would have put them in long yardage and we missed tackles and they ended up gaining some. But I thought we were getting to the ball well, I thought we were running to the ball well. Missed tackles, we have to clean that up, try to clean that up a little bit. If we keep flying around, running to the ball hard, we got a chance.”
Hoggard also had positive things to say about the way his offense moved the ball. He thought Dudley’s coverage on the play that led to the pick-6 by Patrick Conner confused his sophomore quarterback — Luke Hoggard.
“Just through practice, we haven’t gone against much Cover 3,” Hoggard said. “A young guy against Cover 3 makes a bad throw. It happens. I thought he ran the offense well other than the pick. I thought he ran the offense pretty well. I think he’ll keep getting better, progressing.
“Hopefully as an offensive and defensive unit, we will continue to progress and get better. We don’t have long to do it, we play in a week.”
Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 or on Twitter @scgolfer.