Raiders hope to ride momentum on the road against Generals

Oak Hill coach Chris Craven (left) talks with quarterback Ash Cullum during last week’s game against Deer Creek School

After a shutout performance last Friday, the Oak Hill Academy Raiders (1-0, 0-0) will look to capitalize on the momentum and confidence as they travel to Decatur to take on the Newton County Academy Generals (0-1, 0-0).

Raider coach Chris Craven will not look to reinvent the wheel on Friday, at least on the defensive side of the ball, after his squad has refused to surrender a point both in the jamboree game and in the season opener against Deer Creek School, which saw the Raiders emerge on top in the 21-0 victory.

“There’s always things to fix,” Craven said. “Defense is playing well. Offense didn’t click the way I wanted to in first game so we’re looking a lot better in execution. At least we look good in practice.”

The Oak Hill defense finished with four interceptions last week and stalled every offensive drive put together by the Warriors. On offense, Oak Hill also saw strong running from senior quarterback Ash Cullum and running backs Jonah Caskey, a junior, and Ethan Bryan, a senior.

Friday’s game will be the home opener for the Generals, who lost 29-14 last week on the road at Winston Academy.

The last time the two teams met in 2017, the Generals came to West Point and pulled off a close 27-21 victory over the Raiders.

Led by coach Rob Roberts, the Generals finished 5-6 in 2017 with a 24-18 loss to Amite School Center in the first round of the MAIS AA playoffs.

“The scouting report will be, they’re big, physical, they like to run the ball and play action pass and we’re going to have to play a real physical game to win,” Craven said. “We will have to establish the run game and make them line up different.”

The Raiders were led in part last week by junior defensive back and Daily Times Leader Player of the Week Collin Coggins, who reeled in two interceptions and returned a punt for a touchdown.

“We’re going to do what we do,” Craven said. “You adjust the lineman assignment to what they do different, they’ll also spread it out. We’ll make our adjustments, but we still run our defense, defensive coach Bill Rosenthal andTyler Rosenthal got them ready.”