SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Every Savannah Christian team knows its number before the season starts.
This year’s number is 50, for the number of years its been since Raider football first started.
A half-century of games, practices and titles have shaped a group determined to honor its predecessors.
“In our locker room, we have a big wall of all the Raider football history; past region championships, past state championships,” said head coach Baker Woodward.
Football teams are usually all about looking forward instead of backward, but there’s no denying the history behind Savannah Christian.
“The expectations are really high and I’ve been pleased with the efforts of team 50 so far,” Woodward said.
Those expectations grew all the higher after Team 49’s region championship season, although this year’s squad won’t have star quarterback Spencer Robicheaux to rely on anymore.
“Spencer leaving is a big hit to the team,” said senior running back and linebacker Carter Allen. “It’s arguably the most important position on the field.”
Without Robicheaux, Savannah Christian’s defense will assume a much greater part of the team’s identity, especially with former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Keith Brooking now on staff as the linebackers coach.
“Every time he speaks, our guys listen and he really genuinely cares about our players and they’re responding in a major way,” Woodward said of Brooking. “I don’t know if our linebackers have ever worked so hard.”
Brooking cordially declined an interview, saying he would rather let the kids’ play do the talking than him.
So far, their performance is talking loudly enough for both parties.
“My friend Peyton Cromwell, he pays attention a lot more, he loves coach, he’s been helping him out more and just been following everything he’s been told,” said senior Caleb Womble.
Cromwell, a linebacker that racked up a team-high 146 total tackles last year, is one of the leaders on this Raider defense, but he’s not the only one with an attacking mentality.
“We just tear up that offensive line and our linebackers just sprint to the ball,” Womble said.
On offense, Savannah Christian will have their top pair of wide receivers from last year – George Futch and Ely Brown – returning to their same positions.
Junior Paulus Zittrauer will start week one at quarterback on the road against Emanuel County Institute.