A new coaching staff and the first full season under local football coaching legend Max Miller has not been enough to spark the Raiders to victory, despite solid efforts in pre-league play.
After two tough losses to Casa Roble (35-10) and Jesuit (35-7). the team bounced back with a win against Golden Sierra (26-0) and a tough loss against Davis (27-13).
Still, players think the preseason warm-up against such tough competition will serve the team well in league play.
“I think if we play to the best of our abilities we are a strong playoff contender,” running-back Connor Shatz said.
The team is looking for redemption this next game as they play Calaveras in Rio’s homecoming. Last year the team traveled down Highway 49 to Calaveras High in San Andreas for their homecoming, competing in a back-and-forth game all the way to the last quarter.The team lost in heartbreaking fashion.
This year, as Calaveras travels to Sacramento, the team looks for a win
“I think we are better prepared as a team, because of the new coaching staff we have,” Shatz said.
“It’s an honor being coached by a legend,” said running-back Justin Shatz, Connor’s twin brother. “I feel so lucky to be coached by such an amazing coaching staff.”
This year’s coaching staff consists of all well respected coaches in this area.
Coach Max Miller, who coached at Costa Mesa 1969-1970, Rio Americano 1974-1980, Rancho Cordova 1983-2007, defensive coordinator at Folsom in 2007, and the team won the State Championship that year.
Miller also was inducted into the Sac-Joaquin Hall of Fame in 2012.
Max Miller’s current coaching record is 258-104-4 and has won one State Championship and numerous Section titles.
But he is not the only member of the coaching staff with an excess of experience. Coach Lombardi who was the head coach of Lassen Susanville from 1971-1986, then Elk Grove from the 1987-2000 where he built a powerhouse that brought the whole community together. Then he coached at Clovis West from 2000-2003.
He then came back to coach Sheldon from 2004-2009. Coach Lombardi finished his coaching career 200-144-3 and with three Sac-Joaquin Section title
The team traveled to Davis to battle. The team started off strong with a touchdown from a Connor Shatz run.
After the touchdown the momentum seemed to be on Rio’s teams side, but during the second quarter of the game Davis scored two touchdowns from a 2-yard run and a kick return. The Raiders could not get anything going for the third and fourth quarter and unfortunately took the loss.
The team continuously made little mistakes throughout the game like missed tackles and dropped passes.
“We were very prepared, we just did not perform the way we should have,” defensive-end Tyler Juba said.
The team is looking to bounce back and from a tough loss, and looking forward to this weekend against Calaveras.
“It was a bumpy start, but we are refocused for Calaveras and we are going to get that win,” defensive-tackle Robert Crandall said ahead of the homecoming game this Saturday.