Season Comes To Close

Michael Johnson

As Denton-Guyer, Denton-Ryan and Lake Dallas still have high hopes for football in December, Rider remains silent, looking back at a rebuilding season with hopes of improvement.
“It’s been a learning experience for everyone involved from the coaches to the trainers and to the players,” coach James Garfield said. “One of the life lessons that we teach how to deal with is adversity, so hopefully the kids and the people involved understand that this is a life lesson and we’ve got to get through it.”
Rider finished 6th place in District 5-4A play with a record of 2-8.
“Players win. Coaches lose,” Garfield said. “Obviously I didn’t do my job as a coach to get us to have a winning record.”
However, senior Rodney Gilliam thinks the coaches “did a great job.”
“I look up to coach Garfield,” Gilliam said. “He’s an amazing guy and he’s everything I want to be when I grow up.”
Gilliam played as outside linebacker throughout the season and plans on pursuing football in college.
“There were a lot of trials and tribulations,” Gilliam said. “It was a hard season.”
Gilliam played a certain leadership role in the eyes of the younger guys on the team.
“Lots of guys looked up to me,” Gilliam said. “Being in that role I’ve seen other guys (in this position) as well and it felt great.”
On Nov. 6, Rider students saw the tragic 28-18 loss to Old High, the first in four years.
“They hung together and stayed together though the tough times,” Garfield said. “In a 2-8 season you may say there were a lot of bad things, but there really wasn’t.”
This year marked the first time Rider has not made the playoffs under the coaching of Scott Ponder.
“We’re starting to take a look at the personnel we have from a defensive standpoint,” Garfield said. “We’ll take a look at our schemes and our common opponents, and do film work on that.”
Garfield is hopeful to win more games next year.
“We always have great kids and great players here at Rider and I see them stepping up to the challenge of overcoming what we had this year,” Garfield said. “I don’t want this to come out as being the kids’ fault because it’s not, it’s the coaches’ fault.”
Garfield plans on working towards the better of his side of the ball, the defense.
“That was the area where I was in charge of and we didn’t have a winning record,” Garfield said. “Coach Gar’s got to step up and accept responsibility for what has happened.”