RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WSAV) – Welcome to 15 Teams in 15 Days! This is WSAV’s annual high school football preview series where we do a deep dive on a new team for each of the first 15 days of August. This year, we will ask and answer four standard questions of each team, which are all listed below:

Why are you interesting?

Richmond Hill’s slogan is “Build the Hill,” and the high school has literally been doing exactly that.

The population of Richmond Hill High School has grown so much that the athletic department has been realigned into Class 7A, the largest classification in Georgia. They are the only school in our area of the state to play in 7A.

“I think our student population has increased by 700 or so since I’ve been there,” said head coach Matt LeZotte. “Seeing the growth, we knew it was ultimately going to happen. So everything we’ve done over those years has been geared toward preparing to move into that highest classification.”

Richmond Hill went through something of a rebuild last year, going 4-6 but still snagging a second seed in the playoffs thanks to a strong region finish. The Wildcats lost their opening playoff game, 19-14, to Lovejoy.

Coming into this season, a lot of the players that were new to their roles last year have started to come into their own, and not a moment too soon.

“They know what to look for, they know what we’ve done, they know how we do it at Richmond Hill,” said senior quarterback Ty Goldrick. “So yeah, it’s a big difference (from last year.)”

Who are your dudes?

Goldrick is returning for a second year as a starting quarterback, and he has some weapons to work with.

Top pass-catcher Ravon Grant lit up South Georgia last year, hauling in 46 balls for 793 yards and 5 touchdowns.

“He’s a special player with a special talent and ability,” LeZotte said. “Ty Goldrick does a great job of distributing the ball to all our playmakers. We’ve had some guys step up and have tremendous offseasons.”

According to LeZotte, senior Mason Wilcox is another one of the players that put in work over the summer. The senior wideout and defensive back only got on the field in one game last year, but expect that to change this season.

Goldrick told WSAV that Josh Ulrich should work his way into the running back rotation, alongside returning running back Zion Gillard.

On defense, Rahmaan Moore is returning after recording a team-high five sacks last season.

What’s up with your coach?

Matt LeZotte arrived in Richmond Hill before the 2015 season and has found quite a bit of success there.

The Wildcats are 43-33 in LeZotte’s tenure, which includes a region title in 2019 and five total playoff wins. Prior to LeZotte’s arrival, Richmond Hill had only won three playoff games in its entire history.

His contributions go beyond just wins, though; the Wildcats have turned out an impressive number of players that have gone on to play in college. Guys like Aaron Bedgood of Coastal Carolina and Britton Williams of Georgia Southern have gone on from the Hill to even greater heights.

“Hearing their college coaches talk about them and the guys that they are really says a lot about those guys,” LeZotte said. “It makes us really proud that they rolled through Richmond Hill on the way there. They’re setting a great example, they stay in contact with us and with these guys and they’re watching on Friday nights.”

When’s the big game?

Usually, we don’t choose a road game for the biggest game of a team’s year, particularly one that’s so hard for fans to travel to.

However, Richmond Hill’s Oct. 14 matchup at Valdosta High School is more than a new region game against one of Georgia’s most storied high school programs. There’s also some recent history to it.

The Wildcats scored one of the biggest victories in program history against Valdosta in 2019, defeating them 16-14 to advance to the state semifinals, which is the furthest that Richmond Hill had ever advanced in the state playoffs.

Current Georgia Southern kicker Britton Williams sent three field goals through the uprights in that game to help secure the victory.

Valdosta is just under a three-hour drive from Richmond Hill. The Wildcats will need to make nearly that same drive two weeks later when they go on the road to Lowndes County on Oct. 28.