HUNTSVILLE, Ala.- You'd be hard-pressed to find a tougher region than class 4A region 7. The Randolph Raiders are hard at work preparing for the competition they're set to face this fall.
"We're flying around, we have a lot of energy right now," said head coach Nick Flanagan. "I have a big group of seniors that are leading the way we've asked them to already. We have a lot of guys with a lot of playing experience. A lot of them, Brad Layton, Levon Fletcher, a lot of those guys have started a lot of games for us. Having that kind of success and knowing how things need to be out here, knowing what we expect of them."
What Flanagan expects is to win and that includes in the postseason. In 2015, he led the Raiders to the playoffs for the first time in program history. The team made a return trip last season but both times, they lost in the first round. Senior defensive back Levon Fletcher is the first to say that an early exit isn't going to cut it anymore.
"I hate to lose and a lot of my senior teammates hate to lose," said Fletcher. "Losing the past two years in the first round is a really bad taste and the thing is, we want to remember that taste. So this year, going into the season, we want to make sure we not only go to the first round but actually win."
Winning a playoff game would be another milestone for this young program, something coach Flanagan desperately wants for his team. At the same time, he knows it's important not to get too far ahead.
"Our number one goal is we have to get there first. We have to take care of each game and each day. We want to get there and win and I think it would just be a great thing for them to experience a postseason win and experience hosting a playoff game here if possible."
Randolph kicks off the season at home on August 25th against Brewer.