2018 Good Hope Raider football team with coaches (Joe McEachern Photography)
GOOD HOPE – The Good Hope Raiders are gearing up for a playoff run this fall. After finishing 4-6 last season and coming up short of a playoff spot, the Raiders are anxious to get back on the field and take the next step this season.
Alan Scott is entering his fourth season as the Raiders head coach and is happy with how this year’s team got started in the spring. A shutout victory in the Raiders’ spring game helped build some momentum for the team going into its summer workouts.
“I think everything has gone really well. Starting with the spring, we had a good number come out and we were able to play over at Jacksonville State. We played Cleburne County over there and won 21-0 against a really good ball team and that got our summer started really well,” Scott said. “We had really good attendance; the kids have been working hard and they’ve got a good attitude so we’re feeling positive so far.”
Good Hope will have a lot of new faces in the secondary this season. Mason Moniz, Kyle Carlton and Will Dickerson were all seniors on the back end of the Raiders’ defense last year, leaving a lot of experience and production to be replaced. Outside of the secondary, however, Good Hope will return nearly all of its starters from 2017. Impact players on the offensive side like Matt Hancock, Preston Bagwell, Isaiah Green and four veterans on the offensive line will be returning for quarterback Bailey Quick, along with last season’s leading rusher, Matt Dixon. Dixon will also be back for the Raiders’ experienced front seven on defense at outside linebacker.
“As a team, we’ve just been working on unity,” Dixon said. “Being a team, getting together and working on the fundamentals, getting back to the basics. Being a senior, I have big goals and I want to do big things like the rest of our guys this year, so our goal is to get to the playoffs and do some things there. We just needed to get together and have the same mindset. If we can just all get together, we’ll have a chance to be really great.”
As one of the seniors on this Good Hope team, Dixon believes he has a responsibility to set a good example on and off the field.
“I just try to be a role model in school and on the field and do what I can to try and motivate and lead by example,” Dixon said. “I go hard in every drill and just try to do what I can.”
With so many faces returning from last season, Scott thinks that this year’s team is in a good position to make a playoff run.
“This year is a little bit unique. We have 25 seniors on the roster and only graduated four from last year, so we don’t have to replace hardly anyone,” Scott said. “Our defensive backfield was really hurt through graduation and we had an offensive lineman, Tucker Putman, who was very good graduate, but those are really the only roles we’ve had to kind of shore up. We have a long list of guys coming back that give us a lot of depth and experience.”
Good Hope lost tight matchups with region opponents Cordova, Haleyville, Winfield and Class 4A State Runner-Up Fayette County last season. All were key losses that kept the Raiders out of postseason play and all of them could’ve been wins for Good Hope. Scott believes those games are what will make the difference for the team this fall and wants to see his team respond in those moments.
“I think overall, these guys just want to compete. Last year in our region, we were very close in some key games where we came up short and we’d like to finish those games this year,” Scott said. “We played the eventual state runner-up very well at home. We were up on them in the third quarter and just had a couple unfortunate turnovers late in the game that led to points, but I think our guys learned a lot about themselves last year and now it’s just a matter of getting a little more disciplined and staying in good shape so that when we get to the fourth quarter, we can finish those games.”
2018 Good Hope football schedule
Aug. 24 at Carbon Hill
Aug. 31 at Priceville
Sept. 7 v. Cordova
Sept. 14 v. Tanner
Sept. 21 v. Oak Grove
Oct. 5 at Northside
Oct. 12 v. Haleyville
Oct. 19 at Curry
Oct. 26 at Fayette County
Nov. 2 v. Hanceville
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