In a Disappointing Year After Making the Class 3A State Title Game, The Richwood Rams Proved Late in the Season that the Team Can Still Be a Contender in Future Years
by Jace LeJeune
In 2017, under Head Coach Robert Arvie, the Richwood High School Rams had the greatest season in the history of their football program finishing at 11-4 overall and making the Class 3A state championship game. Also, considering how dominant North Louisiana football is, they were the only football program in North Louisiana to make an appearance in the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Although the Rams fell short to the West Feliciana High School Saints, it still was a great playoff run for the Rams. Led by their stifling defense, the Rams had impressive wins over North Vermilion High School, Loranger High School, Sterlington High School, and Kaplan High School to make the championship game. After a successful season in 2017, the Rams were looking for even more in 2018. Unfortunately, the Rams just were not able to have the same amount of success they had last year. This season, it has been a struggle for the Rams winning football games as after the result of tonight’s game against Sterlington High School, the team finished with a regular season record of 2-8. A big reason why the Rams struggled this season is because of graduation. Last year, key players such as DE Jarviar Wade (Northwestern State), OL Jabarie Danzie (Northwestern State), TE Geor’Quarius Spivey (Mississippi State), DB Hidari Ceasar (TCU), DB Anthony Watson (Northwestern State), and DT/NG Quanderrius Johnson (Louisiana College) all graduated and are now playing on collegiate football teams. Not only has the team tried to replace big time players, but they had to do it with a lot of players that have not played a lot of football.
“We lost a lot of experience from last year. This year, we have another pretty big senior class, but however, 20 of our starters this year haven’t really played on Friday night,” Arvie said. “Over the first five weeks, we were trying to get those guys game experience and also figure out what they can and cannot do.”
Even with the major turmoil, there were some players that played a big part on that state championship team. One of those players is senior RB/DB Benny Davis (5-10, 175), who is the team’s returning leader coming into the season in rushing yards, receiving yards, tackles, and interceptions. Davis, who is a three year starter for the Rams, made All-State last season as a safety and was named the team’s most outstanding player in the Dome. He is undoubtedly the best player on the football team and is regarded very highly by Louisiana Football Magazine’s recruiting specialist Lee Brecheen, who put Davis on the cover of our North Louisiana Magazine preview edition.
“Benny Davis is a phenomenal football player,” Brecheen said. “He checks all the boxes. The only thing is he is only 5-10 in a half. If he was 6-0, LSU would probably offer him. When it is all said and done, Benny may be as good as it gets in college. If ULM can keep him in Monroe, it would be huge for them because I am sure he will be receiving offers from the Southern Mississippi’s and the Kansas’s of the world.”
Shockingly, Davis has not received any offers from any colleges, which is even more shocking for Coach Arvie, who has often compared Davis to a standout player from Hahnville High School that is now at Kansas.
“Benny reminds me of Anthony “Pooka” Williams (Hahnville/Kansas),” Arvie said. “I think that he is that type of player. He has the combination of power and speed. I think he can do a lot of things at the next level.”
Overall, the secondary has been one of the bright spots overall this season. With players such as Davis, SS Kevin Jackson (5-11, 170), CB Jaylon Jones (6-1, 180), DB Dankquarius Johnson (5-8, 190), and others, it has been a solid group.
“Last year, you may have known Hidari Ceasar, who is now at TCU as a safety,” Arvie said. “However, when he played for us, we needed his spark more on the offensive side of the football. We knew that this group can jell together.”
A position group that had to jell this year is the defensive line. A big part of the Rams’ success a season ago was their front four. This was an unit that did not give up more than 17 points in each game during their playoff run. Wade and Johnson were big body guys that made it often tough to run on. This season, players such as DT Jacorius Lenard (5-11, 280), who is the Class 3A state power lifting champion, DT/NG Geor’Terrius Spivey (6-0, 250), who is the younger brother of Geor’Quarius, and DE Jaimarco Major (6-0, 220) all had to step up and play major roles.
“These guys had to step up big for us because not only they had to start on defense, but they have to start on the offensive line as well,” Arvie said. “They have bought into their roles and have made some plays for us starting both ways.”
Also, a couple of weeks ago, the team got Jalen Standifer (6-0, 200) back healthy. Standifer plays tight end and defensive end for the Rams, but had to miss the first couple of games. Since he came back, both units have been more efficient including the offense. In speaking of the offense, senior QB Ashley Holmes (5-9, 200), who led the Rams last year as the signal caller, has a much different role this year for the team.
“Ashley plays almost everything for us,” Arvie said. “He lost his starting quarterback spot at the beginning of the fall, but we are still going to make sure that he is on the field. We try to mix it up with him as you will see him at running back and even at quarterback sometimes.”
Coach Arvie tries to mix the backfield up with Holmes and Sherman at quarterback along with Davis and De’edrick Whitlock (5-9, 170) as the running backs.
“De’edrick Whitlock has done a steady job for us,” Arvie said. “Adding in all the other players in the backfield, we pretty much have four running backs that can touch the football.”
The Rams have had their struggles especially at the start of the season trying to get some much needed experience for the majority of the players, but the team had the talent to make the run towards late in the season. Despite the 2-8 season, Coach Arvie saw a lot of positives toward the end and sees a bright future for what is ahead.
“Once we got past Week 5, we knew which guys we could count on,” Arvie said. “The team has responded really well especially over the last four games.”
Entering their regular season finale as the number 33 seed in the Class 3A playoffs, it is most likely that the Rams may not have a chance to get into the playoff to try and go back to the Superdome, but if they do find a way to sneak in once the playoff brackets are revealed Sunday morning, this could be a team that has the athleticism and now the momentum in order to give top seeds a hard fought game.
Hey football fans. Like our recruiting interviews, stories, and other content on our website? Click on our website daily to view articles on recruits, coaches, and so much more at our website: http://www.lafootballmagazine.com/. Also, we have exciting news that for the second straight year, we will have our North and South LA issues and both are now out! Both issues will continue to cover all the Louisiana colleges as well as all the high schools in state, but there will be 16 pages that will focus on North Louisiana as well as South Louisiana. For more information, please check the following link to where you can find the magazine in a store near you. Also, below are the two covers as well as where you can order both magazines on our website.
North Cover: South Cover:
North Link: http://www.lafootballmagazine.com/product/la-football-magazine-2018-annual-preview-north-edition/
South Link: http://www.lafootballmagazine.com/product/la-football-magazine-2018-annual-preview-south-edition/