2013 H.S. Football Preview: Riverview Rams

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SARASOTA - The third time is the charm, right? Riverview head football coach Todd Johnson is getting ready for his third year at the helm. And after a spring to figure out some major changes, the Rams are rolling.

The Rams’ offense will be built around speedy running back Karan Higdon, who ran for over 900 yards last season as a sophomore.

He will ease the pressure on new quarterback Richie James. "I feel like they will start focusing on Rich more, and that will open up things for me. Then they will focus on me and Rich will be free. It works both ways."

James moves to quarterback after being a standout wide receiver for his predecessor. The transition is a work in progress, but James is multi-faceted. "He is a true team guy. He is a great person. He will do whatever we ask of him. He is embracing it, enjoying it, and he is picking up all of it fast," says Johnson.

The Riverview Rams ended last season on a 3-game winning streak, and while most of their skill players are returning on offense, the defense has looked pretty staunch against that offense. "Defense wins games, as everybody says. They have stepped up a lot. Ever since my freshman year, sophomore year until now, they have stepped it up," says Higdon.

Over the summer, both Higdon and James attended collegiate camps. They both learned at the camps, and impressed some folks, too. "We ended the camp up going to Tallahassee, and Jimbo thought they did a great job. Also, in Gainesville they went up there and did a good job. It was a good experience for them. They had a lot of fun," says Johnson.

"It meant a lot to me. It was more of a lesson for me so I could see other running backs -- what they are doing right, what they are doing wrong, things I need to work on. It helped me a lot in my game," says Higdon.

The Rams open up on August 23rd at Palmetto for their Kickoff Classic. Their regular season opener is at home against Bayshore the following Friday.