Randleman Tigers plan on quick football turnaround

Quarterback Christian Long is hoping for a smoother season in his second year as Randleman’s starter. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)

Randleman reaches for rapid rebuild after rough season

RANDLEMAN – The quest to return to the top is in the works for the Randleman football team.

“We’re not who we want to be yet, but we’re getting pretty close,” senior quarterback Christian Long said. “I think the mentality going into this year is different. I don’t think we’re all the way there yet.”

A sudden dip has given the Tigers a sense of urgency entering the season, which begins Friday night at Asheboro.

Randleman’s motto under third-year coach Shane Timmons is GSD – Get Stuff Done.

So there’s an emphasis on across-the-board improvements after last season’s 4-7 record. That mark followed a three-season stretch when the Tigers were a combined 32-3 without a regular-season defeat.

“Things come in cycles,” Timmons said. “Culture starts with me.”

No doubt, part of that will be embracing a physical approach. The Tigers want to hammer on foes.

With that, four senior offensive linemen create what might be the strength of the team. Randleman wants to be in control along the line of scrimmage.

Long said he has improved his ability to improvise with the ball and he senses there are strong pieces in place around him. There were uneven outings in his first season as a starter.

“He had his growing pains,” Timmons said. “He took his lumps and he learned from his lumps.”

The Tigers lost last season’s leading rusher Ervodd Cassady because of his transfer to Eastern Randolph. And they’ll begin this season without battering running back Thomas Dobias.

Dobias, a standout junior linebacker, will miss the opening few weeks with a knee injury. Timmons said depth has been developed in some areas to help compensate.

“It’s so nice to have other guys,” he said.

Still, the defense is going to have a youthful element.

“When you look at the driver’s ed class and half your defense is in it, you’re pretty young,” Timmons said.

Sophomore Tyshaun Goldston, a transfer from Asheboro, could help at receiver and safety.

The Tigers were encouraged by solid outings in last week’s scrimmages.

Last August, there was a stunning defeat to open the season, so there’s a reminder about the importance of reversing that. A “Beat Asheboro” countdown clock is in the team’s weight room.

The goal is for a quick rebuild to re-establish those winning ways.

“We’ve got a lot better energy this year,” Dobias said.

Whether the Tigers are up to the task remains to be determined, they seem encouraged by the attitude. Long said that’s already on display.

“We’ve got guys willing to play anywhere,” he said.

By Bob Sutton