I feel the pain, disappointment, anger, and everything else Raider Nation. The 42-6 loss to West Forsyth on the road made Mays appear incapable of competing this season and for the most part, players and coaches feel even worse for letting you all down.
Most importantly, Mays head coach Maliki Battle had a lot of heart to heart conversations with his players during and after the game and to say he was disappointed is an understatement. Unfortunately, somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. The good thing about a loss like this is that it helps you grow and is sometimes needed.
Here are four key takeaways from Wednesday night’s loss.
This is a young team
The lights were too bright on this particular night. It should not be an excuse for any team, especially for a team coached by Battle but this is the reality. Coming into this game, one of the biggest questions was how the Raiders would respond after losing seventeen to nineteen starters from last season, plus and only having four varsity players with some or little experience. Missed assignments, lack of discipline on plays, hitting the right gaps, knowing where and how to line up, and most importantly, not knowing or understanding the defense you are in can put any team in a bad situation. The great thing about a young team like this is that they have time and growth to get it all together. It is only one bad game and they have nine more to play. Their goals of competing for the region championship, playing in the state playoffs, and possibly a chance of playing in the state championship is still possible. All that will be needed is growth, willingness to learn, and the desire and desperation of being coached the right way.
The Wide Receivers must improve
There were multiple passes dropped in this game and most if not all were catchable. No receiver or player is perfect but if the wide receivers in this game were able to hold onto the football, it would have made things easier on the offense. Easier as in keeping the Wolverines defense off balance and opening up opportunities for running back Danny Conley III who has the ability to make long runs. This is just one game and something simple that can be cleaned up moving forward.
Football is back!
This may not be much of a surprise but it is great to have football back (for now at least). Safety, social distancing, wearing masks, and following simple CDC guidelines were present in Wednesday nights game from fans, players, coaches, cheerleaders, and band members. With the exception of the Wolverine student section, everybody was taking safety measures to make sure they were protected and enjoyed their Friday night. While referees enforced wearing masks and players standing as far back on the sidelines as possible, there was no pushback or any problems. There is no doubt that if this continues, football is here to stay and things can be normal again.
Backup QB Quintavious Johnson stepped up
Yes, the scoreboard says 42-6 in favor of West Forsyth but Johnson proved a lot to Raiders fans and players. Most importantly, he showed coaches a lot of potential and leadership. After pulling starting quarterback Soloman Evans for Johnson, the freshman quarterback, coaches loved how he got the offense going, moved the chains, and gave the Raiders their lone score of the night late in the fourth quarter. This is a young team and the fact a player of his magnitude, a freshman quarterback playing in a big game in the Corky Classic can stay determined and find a way to get it done just says a lot. Needless to say, the future is bright for this young man.
As the Raiders prepare for their next opponent and go into region play, defensive growth and offensive progress is needed to be a strong playoff team.