football

2014 Warwick Raiders Preview

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none'>2014 Tidewater Football Schedules
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Biullu4njqqzqssanppn
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District, Class 5A, Region 5A South
Head Coach: Corey Hariston

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History:
2011 - -
"Verdana","sans-serif"'>6-5 (lost to Phoebus 32-14 in regional quarterfinals)
2012 - - 4-6 (missed playoffs)
2013 - - 0-10 (missed playoffs)

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Rewind:
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style=>
line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>It was starting to be like
a broken record. For five consecutive
seasons from 2007-11, the Warwick Raiders finished 6-5 overall with a first
round playoff exit annually. Considering
how low things dipped a year ago, getting outscored 362-88 and suffering a
winless campaign, the Raiders would've gladly signed for 6-5 or even the
inverse. Two of those losses, 28-16 to
Maury and 17-13 to Menchville, came in games where
they led. Assistant Corey Hairston takes
over for a program that had Head Coach Bernard Griffin removed before the 2013
season concluded.

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Offensive Outlook:
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style=>
line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>To say the Raiders had trouble scoring last
year would be an understatement. They
averaged 8.8 points per game and only eclipsed 20 once, which came in a 40-29
loss to Gloucester. Only one player
returns that scored a touchdown last year and that's senior tight end
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Christopher Young (6-0, 225).
style=> Even Hairston understands they have their
work cut out on offense. "We will be young
on offense. Most of the starters from
last season were seniors, so we will be re-building here," he pointed out.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>Part
of the overhaul will include a new quarterback, where sophomore
class=SpellE>D'Juan
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Nunn (5-11, 165) steps in as the
starter. Complementing Young in the
passing game are senior Darien Overton (5-8,
145) and junior Demonte Good (5-8,
145). On the ground, the Raiders
struggled to sustain anything last year, gaining 616 yards on 258 attempts for
the season, an average of 2.4 yards per carry.
Looking to spark their running game this year will be seniors
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Lee Hawkins (5-7, 150) and
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Bryan Brooks (5-10, 180).
style=> Look for them to try to control the clock better
with a higher number of rushes.

style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";
mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>Malik Harris
style='font-size:9.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";
mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>(6-1, 225) is the
only starter back on the offensive line.
Another junior, Mario Byrd (5-8,
245), will move from fullback to the o-line and play a significant role.
style=> Quite possibly the best kicker in Hampton
Roads resides at Warwick in All-PenSouth Conference
selection Grayson Hubbard (6-0,
175), who connected on six field goals as a junior.
style=> "He's definitely a weapon," Hairston
acknowledged. "I won't say if we get
inside the 35 it's automatic, but it's almost automatic."
style=> The Raiders also feel they have one of the
better long-snappers around in senior Isaac
Johnson (5-10, 180).

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Defensive Outlook:
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minor-latin'> Warwick was simply gashed
last year on the ground, giving up 255.8 yards rushing per contest, largely
contributing to the 36.2PPG allowed.
They were severely inexperienced at key spots and shouldn't be as green
in those areas. "Our strength should be
our defense. This will be the cornerstone
of our team," confidently stated Hairston, whose Raiders return six starters
from last season, which means they have quality varsity minutes.
style=> "The defense is usually ahead of the offense
this time of year."

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>Senior
inside linebacker Erique
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Diggs (6-1, 230) will spearhead the
defense. They have five others that
could rotate in at the other linebacker spots, including Hawkins, Brooks and a
couple of freshmen. On the back end,
class=SpellE>Rambert
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Tyree (6-2, 175) is someone that may
get a shot to play at the next level with a good senior season.
style=> Overton, Good and junior
safety Kalek
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Leary (5-10, 150) round out the
starting unit in the defensive backfield.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>There's
not much depth or size to speak of on the defensive line, but Harris is a
possible All-Conference candidate and Byrd will occupy another starting
spot. That level appears to be the one
that's the biggest question mark on defense.
"We will have a few holes to fill along the defensive line," Hairston
noted. "The linebackers and secondary
should be solid."

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Date to Circle:
font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:
minor-latin'> September 18 vs.
Gloucester. With the first three games
on the road against Kecoughtan, Maury and Phoebus - -
all playoff hopefuls - - the Raiders' most realistic opportunity to give
Hairston his first win is this one.
Warwick had won seven straight meetings against the Dukes until last
year. A victory here would give them
some momentum going into a matchup with Denbigh, one of the schools where
class=SpellE>Hariston used to be an assistant.

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Hat's Hit:
line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'> The
Raiders have their fourth Head Coach in three seasons, and with such turnover a
slow start is naturally expected. No one
is looking for them to challenge for the top spot in the Peninsula District,
and a playoff berth right away under Hairston might be hard to attain.
style=> But they're starting fresh and taking an
approach of not dwelling on the past, rather setting their sights on the present,
what they can control now.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>"We
don't focus on last year. We focus on
Warwick High School, nothing else. Our
attention is on building and getting better each day," said Hairston, a
45-year-old Ohio native that has spent 19 years coaching in the PD.
style=>

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>Hairston
has coached at each of the four schools in Newport News, so he has familiarity
with the kids in the city and also what it takes to be successful given that he's
been on staffs that have gone to the playoffs.
They'll be good on special teams, should be competitive on defense and
in order to spring an upset or two the offense will have to take care of the
football as well as jell on the line.

"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin'>For
Warwick, the re-building project began in the off-season, working in the weight
room and paying attention to detail. If
the Raiders can gradually take steps improving and play a disciplined brand of football,
it should pay off with wins. How many remains
to be seen. Regardless of how many
victories they get in 2014, they want to get on the right path soon before it becomes
a place where it's tough to change the culture.

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115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>Matthew Hatfield
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has covered football and basketball since 2004 for
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Network. Check out
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and you can also read his work in the
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