ROCKINGHAM — Call them Richmond Senior’s odd couple.
One seems to be constantly chatting, while the other appears to utter a sentence a day. One loves being in the spotlight, while the other prefers to blend into the surroundings.
No matter how you want to describe the pair, they are polar opposites. But just like Oscar and Felix or Yin and Yang, the duo of Thomas Calhoun and Devontae Watkins fit together in near perfect harmony.
“I like to lead by example basically,” Watkins said. “In all my years all I heard was speak with your actions and not your words.”
Calhoun smiled as he heard his teammate’s comment. One of the most vocal leaders of the Raiders, Calhoun added there is more than just bravado behind his words.
“My talking really got worse since I didn’t play too much last year,” Calhoun said. “I talk the talk and walk the walk. I have confidence in my game, but I also work hard on it. I do a lot of studying, watch film and work hard in practice.”
When the pair was asked who was the better cover cornerback, Calhoun grinned and quickly pointed to himself. Watkins admitted he had to give the nod to Calhoun. But when it comes to playing the run better and doing the little things which is generally overlooked on the stats sheet, Calhoun concedes Watkins is better.
“I’m better at covering, but he does all the dirty work,” Calhoun said. “He will get in there and do all that like tackle the runner.”
On the season, Watkins is second on the team with three interceptions, while Calhoun has yet to reel in a pick this season. They both have recorded a team-high six pass breakups and been credited with 43 total tackles.
Even with all of their differences, there is one common theme which brings Calhoun and Watkins together — striving to get better.
The duo will watch each other in practice and offer suggestions if there is a breakdown in their technique. Calhoun and Watkins know they are going to need to be on top of their game with Jack Britt coming to town tonight for the third-round matchup. For the first time since Week 2 against Lee County, Richmond will face a team which has a tendency to mix in the pass more frequently than teams like Hoke, Pinecrest and Lumberton.
“We should do well,” Watkins said. “In practice we have been studying routes…we are going to do our best.”
Calhoun was a bit more zealous with his thoughts.
“I’m real confident going in,” he said. “We’ve been practicing hard. The defense as a whole has been real good about doing things this week. I’m confident.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.