Bulldogs look for renewed spirit under Richardson

Beau Bearden

Sometimes seeing the same thing over and over can be helpful, but other times a fresh perspective is just what the doctor ordered. The Healdton High School football team hopes that is the case in 2020 with Taner Richardson at the helm for his first season. 

“It’s good for the kids — it’s a change and a different system,” Richardson said. “They’re excited. Sometimes it becomes monotonous when you go through the same thing. It’s a different system and they’re excited. The main thing is their excitement — they’re coming out and giving us 100% every day.” 

And Richardson is pleased with how well the Bulldogs have adjusted to the different offensive and defensive schemes. Healdton also has time on its side as its opener isn’t in zero week and instead a home contest at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4 against Marietta.  

That will go a long way in seeing where the Bulldogs are, but the team’s IQ is one of the many strengths that should pay off. 

“We’ve got a lot of smart kids — they’ve bought into the system,” Richardson said. “We have some size up front. We’re going to lean on those guys to try and control the clock, control the line of scrimmage and try to win games that way.” 

That shouldn’t come as a surprise though.  

Richardson is a Ringling native and played football for the Blue Devils, who have a history of that type of approach. Ringling won a state title last season by running the ball 59 times and controlling the clock for more than 30 minutes. 

“I have a background in football and I’ve always been around it,” Richardson said. “My grandpa has coached football at Ringling for a long time. I’m just from this area and got a chance to come here and take it.” 

That background should pay dividends for Healdton, which has experienced athletes such as seniors Kolton Cox and Alex Langley — a duo Richardson expects to have a big year. 

However, there are also other Bulldogs who are eager to learn and make a difference.  

“We have some good upperclassmen, but we’re going to play a lot of younger kids,” Richardson said. “I think there’s going to be a lot of sophomores on the field. I don’t know if we’ll have too many freshmen, but we’ll have a lot of sophomores playing.” 

One of those sophomores could be Beau Bradberry, who is battling senior Wade Etter to be Healdton’s starting quarterback.  

“We’ll see which one comes out on top,” Richardson said. “We’re going to play both of them in scrimmages and see how it goes.” 

Bradberry and Etter will get their final tune-up in a scrimmage on Thursday, Aug. 27 at Allen before jumping into the season the following Friday. 

And while it’s safe to say a Oct. 15 trip to Ringling could be circled on the calendar, the Bulldogs aren’t looking that far ahead. 

“We’re just going to take it one game at a time,” Richardson said. “We start with our scrimmages, get through our non-district and try to win as many district games as we can.”