Riverside hopes that struggles lead to success

Aug. 19, 2013 @ 03:13 PM

The Riverside Pirates have taken a bunch of lumps during David Hackney’s three years as the team’s head coach.

It’s time for the Pirates give out some, he said.

“We have a group of seniors that have played varsity football since they were sophomores,” Hackney said. “The vast majority of them are going into their third year of varsity football. They have a lot more confidence, and they came into the offseason with a workman’s mentality.”

Riverside managed a single win last season, going 1-9 and finishing sixth in the then-seven-team PAC-6 4-A. That victory was a 40-0 blowout of Jordan, the last-place team in the PAC-6.

It’s going to be different this time, Hackney said. That’s not a cliché, either, the coach said.

“Our guys have taken the mentality that they’re tired of losing,” Hackney said. “They’ve gone through the trials and tribulations. They’ve gone through the fire, so to speak, in terms of all the bad things that are going to happen to them have happened. They want something positive to happen, and they understand that the only way that can happen is if they work, and they’ve taken the mentality that they refuse to lose.”

Hillside and Southern in recent years have been blessed with special athletes. Riverside’s talent pool hasn’t

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been on that level, but the Pirates have a group of coaches who know how to put players in positions to make plays, Hackney explained.

Southern has been reclassified to the 3-A ranks and has joined the newly created Big Eight Conference after three straight runner-up finishes in the PAC-6, but three-time defending PAC-6 champion Hillside hasn’t gone anywhere.

“Our conference is going to be pretty solid even without (Southern),” Hackney said.

New head coaches at East Chapel Hill, Person and Northern and a second-year coach at Jordan make Hackney one of the longer tenured head coaches in the PAC-6, behind only Hillside’s Antonio King. His three years in charge of Riverside’s football program may give his team some sort of advantage.

“I hope so,” Hackney said.

Hackney has some players on defense who’ve been around the PAC-6 more than once, guys like senior free safety Cameron Roane (6-0, 175), whose mass and speed stood out during preseason drills.

Senior defensive lineman Patrick Volk (5-10, 228) and junior outside linebacker Darryl Smith should be factors for the Pirates.

Senior running back Joel Evans (5-4, 190), who played at Southern and transferred during the 2012 season, is expected to have the football in his hands when the Pirates open the season on Aug. 23 at Chapel Hill.

NOTES — With the departure of Southern, the PAC-6 will receive only three automatic playoff berths this season, down from the four it received as a seven-team conference.