The spot Terry Herrod is stepping into appears to be the best.
After holding the position of defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Dutchtown for the past five years, Herrod was hired to replace Olten Downs, who became the head coach at Creekside following a two-year stint at Riverdale.
“Coach Downs did an outstanding job of building this program,” Herrod said.
In 2011, the Raiders matched their win total for the previous two seasons, and last year Riverdale earned a 7-4 record and its first playoff appearance since 2006.
“The one thing about inheriting a situation that is good is if it doesn’t work out it’s going to be all on me,” Herrod said. “Because that is the only change. As a coaching staff, we have to make sure we do everything we need to do to get the players ready to play.
“I know we are going to be very competitive. I really think this team has the makeup to do a lot of things. Our goal is to win the region. We’re not going to shy away from that. We also want to make a deep run in the playoffs.”
The reason Herrod has such high expectations is due to the offense returning nine players, the defense bring back seven and the roster including 25 seniors.
“High school football is about seniors,” Herrod said. “When you have 25 seniors and 16 starters coming back you have a lot to feel good about but we still got to play the games.
“We still got to line up and compete.” We’re not sneaking up on anybody this year. Everybody knows that Riverdale has players so we just got to go out there and make it happen.”
Also due to the Raiders’ recent success and experience, Herrod doesn’t plan to drastically change the game plan.
“Having a coach before me with the same values and a lot of the same philosophy, has made it a smooth and easy transition for the kids because it’s not that much different,” Herrod said. “We decided because of the players we have coming back on offense to keep the offense the same.”
Two Raiders to keep your eyes on this season are Rashad Canty, a 6-foot-4 receiver, and 6-foot-3 defensive end Chinedu Okonya.
“I’m just excited about this opportunity,” Herrod said. “There’s a lot of tradition at Riverdale and we’re very excited about that and looking forward to a great season.”
Forest Park hired John Diehl and North Clayton hired James Soza.