Jaguars fill hole in football schedule

mmccombs@islandpacket.comJune 26, 2012 

When Blake Raley was named the head football coach of the consolidated Jasper County high school now tentatively known as Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School, he had an immediate scheduling issue.

Having assumed Ridgeland High School's Class 2-A schedule for the upcoming season, he had a hole to fill for Sept. 7 where Hardeeville High School had been.

Raley took care of that issue, recently scheduling a visit from Savannah Country Day to fill the vacancy.

Now that's settled. Next up, Raley's coaching staff.

"We've still got a partial staff from Ridgeland and a partial staff from Hardeeville," Raley said. "We had a small staff on the Hardeeville side. Some guys coached three sports. With us being able to add more middle school teams, ... 80-85 percent are still going to be on staff in some capacity. So it's not like we're just going to cut the staff in half."

Raley, who said his staff would be made official some time after the fiscal year starts July 2, said there was little chance any assistants would be added from outside the coaching staffs of the two former schools.

"We're trying to keep as many familiar faces as possible," Raley said.

As for the players, Raley said since the two teams didn't have spring practice together, only when practice begins will he have a better understanding where his team stands.

"Ridgeland lost 13, 14 seniors from a great two-year run," Raley said. "Hardeeville kids went through a large graduating class this past season, Ridgeland went through it this year. The kids are searching for their own identity. They're wanting to do their own thing, as far as what kind of team they can put out on the field."

One big question mark, Raley said, is whether an increase in numbers will actually give the Jaguars a significant increase in depth.

"It will be different not having to have six or seven guys having to play both sides of the ball," Raley said

No matter how it all shakes out, though, Raley said the goals are still the same.

"Win games, win region, win state."

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