The 2017 prep football season was one for the history books for the Richwood Rams faithful. Behind a stellar defense and effective offense, the Rams battled their way to the New Orleans’ Mercedes Benz Superdome to play for the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s (LHSAA) Class 3A State Championship.
Unfortunately, Richwood found itself on the wrong end of a 40-21 score in the state championship game against the West Feliciana Saints, but the experience of playing for the school’s first state football title since 1974 can serve as a builder for the Richwood football program moving forward.
In order to accomplish a deep run in the playoffs, Richwood Coach Robert Arvie and his coaching staff must replace several key positions on both sides of the ball depleted by last year’s graduation.
Even with the losses due to graduation, Coach Arvie and the Richwood Rams have set lofty but achievable season goals.
“Our team goal is to be playing football during the Thanksgiving Holiday (Quarterfinals),” Arvie said. “We need to run the football and consistently complete the intermediate pass routes. Defensively, we have to tackle and get off the field on 3rd downs.”
Experience at skill positions is the key to Richwood’s success. The Richwood offense will have experience under center as senior quarterback Ashley Holmes (5’11”, 220 pounds) returns for his fourth season as the Rams’ offensive leader.
Last season, Holmes split time under center with Joseph Smith, who graduated last May. In limited action in 2017, Holmes completed 25-of-60 passes for 351-yards with 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions while rushing the ball 62 times for 30-yards with 9 rushing touchdowns.
Unfortunately for Richwood and Holmes, the Rams’ skill positions were hit hard by graduation as the top three rushers and top four receivers all graduated in May. With inexperience at the skill positions, Coach Arvie has shifted offensive two veterans from last year.
This season, senior Dankquarrius Johnson (5’10”, 185 pounds) will make the move from running back to wide receiver this while senior Benny Davis (5’9”, 170 pounds) will move from wide receiver to running back.
Joining Holmes and Davis in the Richwood backfield will be senior running back Deedrick Whitlock (5’11”, 175 pounds).
At the offensive skill positions, Richwood has five impressive receivers led by imposing senior tight end Geor’Quarrius Spivey (6’5”, 225 pounds).
Joining Johnson in the Rams’ receiving core are senior tight end Jalen Standifer (6’2”, 220 pounds), senior wide receiver Jaylon Jones (6’0”, 180 pounds), senior wide receiver Kevin Jackson (6’0”, 185 pounds) and sophomore wide receiver Calvin Henderson (6’0”, 165 pounds).
Up front, Richwood will look to returning offensive lineman Geor’Terrius Spivey (5’10”, 230 pounds), who will move from center to right guard, to anchor the Rams’ offensive line.
The other Rams’ offensive line positions will be manned by senior right tackle JaiMarco Major (5’10”, 210 pounds), senior left guard Jacorios Lenard (5’10”, 275 pounds), senior left tackle Shone Franklin (5’11”, 225 pounds) and sophomore center Wesley Williams (6’3”, 230 pounds).
On defense, Richwood’s defensive line returns senior defensive tackle Jacorlos Lenard (5’10”, 275 pounds) and senior defensive end JaiMarco Major (5’10”, 210 pounds).
Junior nose guard Brandon Butler (6’0”, 250 pounds), sophomore defensive tackle Wesley Williams (6’3”, 230 pounds) and sophomore defensive end Jacobi Singleton (6’3”, 235 pounds) will round out the Rams’ defensive line along with Lenard and Major.
The Richwood linebacker core will feature senior Ashley Holmes (5’11”, 220 pounds), junior Carldarrius Bethley (5’9”, 165 pounds), senior Dankquarius Johnson (5’10”, 185 pounds) and senior Geor’Terrius Spivey (6’0”, 245 pounds).
The Rams secondary will return their safeties from last season in senior free safety Benny Davis (5’9”, 170 pounds) and senior Kevin Jackson strong safety (6’0”, 185 pounds). Davis is currently ranked number 62 on DandyDon.com Top 100 Football Products from Louisiana.
Davis is a game changer and is the top returning tackler and interceptions leader from last year’s squad with 65 total tackles (55 solo tackles, 10 assists), 7 interceptions, 4 fumble recoveries, 2 forced fumbles and 3 tackles for loss.
Davis was also effective after the interception as he racked up 176-yards on interception returns with one return for a touchdown. Davis’ interception returns averages out to 25.1-yard returned per interception in 2017 which help flip the field for the Rams offense.
Joining Davis and Jackson in the Richwood defensive backfield will be sophomore defensive back Calvin Henderson (6’0”, 165 pounds), senior defensive back Ladarius Patrick (5’11”, 170 pounds), sophomore defensive back Michael Sherman (5’11”, 175 pounds) and senior defensive back Jaylon Jones (6’0”, 180 pounds).
Richwood will await fall camp before settling in on their special team starters although the gunner position will be manned by senior Jaylon Jones.
When it comes to scheduling, the Richwood Rams have never been one to shy away from tough competition.
The 2018 Richwood schedule is no different with 8-of-10 opponents on the schedule that advanced to playoffs last season including 3 teams (Northwood-Shreveport in Class 4A, Sterlington in Class 3A, Red River in Class 2A) advancing to the quarterfinal round.
“Our district schedule will be exciting,” Arvie said. “The top two teams from last year (Sterlington and Richwood), have to play three road district games this season.”
In week one, Richwood will travel to face the Class 5A Ouachita Parish Lions on Friday, August 31
In weeks two, three and four, the Rams will play a trio of Class 4A teams as Richwood will host Northwood-Shreveport Falcons on Friday, September 7 and the Franklin Parish Patriots on Friday, September 14 before traveling to Bastrop in a “Battle of the Rams” on Friday, September 21.
In week five, Richwood will travel to Coushatta to face the Red River Bulldogs on Friday, September 8.
As Coach Arvie said, the District 2-3A schedule has the Rams playing 3-of-5 of their district games on the road.
The Rams will open its District 2-3A schedule on the road as Richwood travels to Farmerville to face the Union Parish Fighting Farmers on Friday, October 6.
In week seven, the Rams will return home to the friendly confines of Richwood’s Mackie Freeze Stadium as the Rams will host District 2-3A rivals in the Carroll Bulldogs on Friday, October 13.
On Friday, October 20, Richwood will travel North on Highway 165 to Monroe to face the Wossman Wildcats in another key District 2-3A showdown at Wossman’s Grady Jones Stadium.
In weeks nine and ten, the Rams will host the Madison Parish Jaguars on Friday, October 26 before Richwood closes out its regular and district schedule on Thursday, November 1 on the road against the Sterlington Panthers in a marquee match-up that is sure to have district title implications.
RICHWOOD RAMS SIDEBAR
Richwood Head Coach: Robert Arvie (5th Season, Overall Record: 11-21, District Record: 7-7)
Richwood Assistant Coaches: Lavelle Wilson, Jr. (Offensive Coordinator), Brad Morace (Defensive Record), Ryan Porter (Offensive Line), Adrienne Manning (Receivers), Glen Ellis (Defensive Line), Randy Peters (Linebackers), Oliver Jackson (Defensive Backs) Brian Morrow and Blaine Winston.
Richwood Home Football Stadium: Mackie Freeze Memorial Stadium (Artificial Turf)
Richwood Rams’ Past Five Seasons:
2017 Overall Record 12-3, District Record 4-1 (District 2-3A Second Place, Class 3A State Runner-Up)
2016 Overall Record: 6-5 District Record: 3-2 (District 2-3A Second Place, Class 3A Playoff Qualifier)
2015 Overall Record: 2-8 District Record: 2-3 (District 2-3A Second Place, did not make the playoffs)
2014 Overall Record: 3-8 District Record: 2-2 (District 2-3A Fourth Place, Class 3A Playoff Qualifier)
2013 Overall Record: 8-4 District Record: 3-1 (District 2-3A Second Place, Regional Playoff Qualifier)
State Championship Season(s): 1- 1974 (Defeated Bolton 28-8 in the Class 3A state title game)
State Runner-Up Season(s): 2 – 1970 (Lost to Hammond 23-12 in Class 3A state title game), 2017 (Lost 40-21 to West Feliciana in Class 3A state title game)
State Semifinalist Season(s): 6 – 1970, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1979, 2017
State Quarterfinalist Season(s): 10 – 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1979, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2017
State Playoff Season(s): 23 – 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1985, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017)