Slowly but surely.
That’s the progress the Richmond Midget Raiders are making early in the 2018 campaign as the city’s lone option for football players 16-to-18-years of age.
The Raiders fell to 0-2 on the season in Vancouver Mainland Football League play after a loss to Chilliwack on Sunday at Minoru Park but, more importantly, the once dormant program is gaining momentum.
The Raiders Football Association brought back a Midget team for the first time in about five seasons as an option for graduated Bantam players and for talent from the now folded senior varsity program at Hugh Boyd. Head coach Casey Fisher has seen his roster steadily grow since beginning pre-season workouts back in August.
“We are getting about one new kid a week. It’s from our regular advertising and your article (in the Richmond News). They come up, and without us even asking, say they saw the article in the paper and they want to play. I can’t believe kids read the newspapers. I thought only old people like myself did,” laughed Fisher.
A number of former Boyd players have found new homes at other Lower Mainland secondary schools including New West, St. Thomas More in Burnaby and Earl Marriott in South Surrey. But the Raiders also want potential players to know there is still a hometown team to play for at the community football level.
“We have seven kids here that won the Bantam provincial championship last year and didn’t want to change schools so that’s another big reason for this team,” added Casey. “Richmond has a long football history and this is a great stadium here.
“We have mostly kids who just turned 16 so this is a huge jump foer them playing in a three-year division.”
The Raiders are currently playing in the VMFL 9-Man Midget Division. Casey would love to see the numbers get to the point to enter the traditional 12-man division again.