The Rice Consolidated Raiders (2-5, 1-1) aren’t having the year they hoped for when moving down to the smaller 3A DII. Despite two wins on the season, the Raiders have reasons to be hopeful about the rest of the year.

Few teams in the area can claim they’ve played a more difficult schedule than the Raiders with games against Columbus, East Bernard and Halletsville.  However, if they can close out their final two games against Brazos and Danbury with wins, the playoffs will be in their future.

“We’ve made our mistakes and, we’ve had tough fights. It may not seem because of the scores, but it’s always been a dogfight and, I’m really excited about (our team) going forward,” senior Robert Stavinoha said.

The Raiders offense after graduating key seniors has been trying to find itself this season.

Rice Consolidated this season went young with sophomore Rafael Herrera at quarterback. As a first-year starting quarterback, Herrera struggled early in the season. Downfield throws haven’t come yet, but the sophomore quarterback in district is completing 72 percent of his passes.

“He’s done a good job progressing,” Raiders Head Coach Jared Sloan said. “We’ve tried to scale some things back for him and tailor some (of the game plan) to his strengths. But he’s done a lot of good things throughout the season.”

After searching for a lead back through their first seven games, the Raiders might have found their man. Against a tough East Bernard defense last week, senior Brandon James ran the ball for 134 yards on 24 carries.

With the Raiders remaining games, the message is consistency.

“We look good on three plays and then we struggle on one play, it’s trying to get them to all move in the right direction consistently,” Sloan said.

It’s been an up and down year, but their goals are still achievable with the season coming to a close.

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