The Raiders participate in the pre-game warm up before the championship. Photo courtesy Lifetouch.
The Raiders participate in the pre-game warm up before the championship. Photo courtesy Lifetouch.

By Eva Owusu, News Writer

The 2014 football season for the Raiders was definitely one for the books. The team finished off the regular season 7-3, pushing Keenan into the playoffs.

The team surpassed all rounds of the playoffs, which lead them to the championship for the first time in history. Keenan was the first team from Richland One to advance to the championship since 1991.

“We tried to have everyone have the same mindset [and] have the same common goal,” Senior Roderick Jones said on making it to the championship.

The team this year was closer than ever; they wanted to prove something this year.

The Raiders gather around their coach after the pre-game warm up and prepare to take on Timberland. Photo courtesy Lifetouch.
The Raiders gather around their coach after the pre-game warm up and prepare to take on Timberland. Photo courtesy Lifetouch.

“We tried to stay humble; people thought we made it, but we still had one more goal,” Senior Richard Lawhorn said.

That common goal was to win the state championship.

Although the team fell short on that goal, fans are still proud and show support for what the team had already accomplished. They ignored the criticism and made Keenan known for more than just basketball, and that’s a win in itself.

“It’s good to have two good programs and provide more of an opportunity for students,” Mr. Anthony Myers, mathematics teacher, said. “The football game[s were] totally different from last year’s games, the energy level was higher and people were talking about it much more in school. Making history is just going to be the springboard for the [football] program.”

The coaches were also proud of the accomplishments the team made this year.

Senior captains (left to right) Richard Lawhorn, Tiski Gray, Rodrick Jones and Kendrick Gathers walk to meet for the coin toss. Photo courtesy Lifetouch.
Senior captains (left to right) Richard Lawhorn, Tiski Gray, Rodrick Jones and Kendrick Gathers walk to meet for the coin toss. Photo courtesy Lifetouch.

“It’s not just me,” Coach Quin McCollum, head coach, said. “It’s a group of people (assistant coaches, players, admin, support staff, volunteers, parents and the Raider Nation as a whole) and a process we had. That process starts with a vision, goals and offseason teaching and commitment to becoming great.”

Making history is in this way was a great finish for the seniors on the team. The seniors left advice to the team next year as they move forward.

“Never give up on what you want; if you want it, go get it,” Jones said.

The team had many obstacles to overcome this year, some that will still be waiting for them next year.

The Raiders run out onto the field, beginning the championship game. Photo courtesy Lifetouch.
The Raiders run out onto the field, beginning the championship game. Photo courtesy Lifetouch.

“Know your role, and don’t get complacent,” Lawhorn said.

The coaches are also looking forward to the team next year and want the team to succeed even further next year.

“[I will say the] same thing [I’ve] been saying since I got on campus, which is to trust the process,” Coach Charles Proctor, football coach, said. “[We will] continue to build on having a championship attitude. If we can continue having a championship attitude, that will do more for us in the long run than any change with X’s and O’s.”

After such a successful year, students at Keenan definitely look forward to what the team has in store for next year.

“It feels great to be a part of something special, to infuse football into a successful athletic culture that was already established,” McCollum said.

The football team, cheerleaders and coaches gather together after a hard fought game. Photo courtesy Lifetouch.
The football team, cheerleaders and coaches gather together after a hard fought game. Photo courtesy Lifetouch.
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