Football: Richards has everything up to speed
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org August 25, 2013 5:22PM
Richards' Hasan Muhammad-Rogers | File photo
Coach: Tony Sheehan 36-17
Last season: 10-2
(6-0 in South Suburban Red)
Key returnees: QB Hasan Muhammad-Rogers (1,100 yards passing, 16 TDs; 500 yards rushing, 5 TDs), WR Tacari Carpenter (40 carches, 776 yards, 11 TDs; 315 yards rushing, 4 TDs), Ramonta Hill (88 carries, 600 yards, 7 TDs), Ryan Willett (8 catches, 110 yards, TD).
Aug. 30: vs. Harlan, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 6: at Batavia, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 13: at Lemont, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20: at Shepard, 7 p.m.-x
Sept. 27: vs. Evergreen Park,
Oct. 4: vs. Reavis, 7 p.m.-x
Oct. 11: at Argo, 7 p.m.-x
Oct. 18: vs. Oak Lawn, 7 p.m.-x
Oct. 25: at Eisenhower, 7 p.m.-x
x — South Suburban Red game
Updated: September 27, 2013 6:10AM
A 10-2 record would be considered a success by a majority of coaches.
Not at Richards. Not this season.
The Bulldogs are shooting much higher than last season’s 10 wins and Class 6A quarterfinals appearance.
“This is the team we’ve been waiting for,” Richards coach Tony Sheehan said. “We have the most team speed Richards has ever had. We are expecting a huge year. This is the best team we have had in our six years as a coaching staff.”
The reason for the optimism is obvious. The Bulldogs, No. 4 in the SouthtownStar Preseason Football Top 10, return a skilled core from last season’s squad and plan to fill the holes with a junior class that has gone a combined 18-0 at the lower levels.
“And that’s with two of their best players up on varsity,” Sheehan is quick to note.
Yes, it’s pretty much a state championship appearance or bust for these Bulldogs. High expectations, for sure.
Linebackers Romel Hill (6-foot, 210) and Andrew Venerable (6-foot, 215) are three-year starters. Savon Robinson anchors an explosive D-line that includes newcomers Kenny Spey (6-foot, 210) and Nurudeen Kamorudeen (5-9, 220). The secondary boasts Dylan Jiles (6-foot, 198) and Crishawn Ross (5-8, 165).
“I think we have one of the best linebacking crews in the state,” said Venerable, who registered 70 tackles last season. “The whole team is in great condition, too.”
Scoring shouldn’t be a problem, even with running back Tommy Mister transferring to St. Rita. Quarterback Hasan Muhammad-Rogers (5-11, 175) returns after totaling more than 1,600 combined yards passing and rushing in 2012.
“Hasan is reading coverages much better and the coaches are giving him more responsibility to call audibles,” Venerable said. “His arm is much stronger than last year. There are times you don’t even want to get in front of his passes.”
Tacari Carpenter (6-foot, 171) had a nice season in 2012, recording 40 catches for 776 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also rushed for 315 yards and four TDs. Carpenter, however, is expected to blow those numbers out of the water this season.
“Tacari is a heck of an athlete,” Venerable said. “We were all laughing before last season when the coaches said Tacari was one of the best athletes in the area. But some of the moves he makes in practice are just unbelievable. He’s going to have a great year.”
Ramonta Hill (6-foot, 205) will provide another threat out of the backfield. Ditto Ryan Willett (5-8, 155) at receiver.
The offensive line is in good shape with Mike Lonigro (6-1, 240), Santiago Calderon (5-11, 220) and Josh Hettiger (6-2, 215) ready to open some holes. Shawn Chiaramonte gives the Bulldogs a big leg in the kicking department.
The Bulldogs start the season against Harlan before facing Batavia (9-1 in 2012), Lemont (11-2) and Shepard (7-4) in succession.
“We have dynamic playmakers,” Sheehan said. “We are fast everywhere, and our best players will be playing both ways now. We’re very excited.”