Valdosta Daily Times

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November 27, 2013

A Valiant senior class:

Part five of a in-depth look at Valwood’s 2013 senior class

HAHIRA — Senior lineman Jake Richards is in his first year as a Valiant.  His previous football experiences include playing for the Vikings of Lowndes High School.

“I love being a Valiant,” Jake said.  “Our team has been able to come together as a unit this season, and it shows on the field.  Thus far, we are undefeated…Not many teams can say that.  It’s a special accomplishment.”

His dedication to the sport, as well as to his education, stands out to his teammates and coaches.

“Jake is a great young man,” Defensive Coordinator Brad Alligood said.  “He’s intense on the line.  He’s one of the best blockers we’ve got.”

Not only is Jake a key member of the offensive and defensive lines, he also shines as a third baseman for the Valiants’ varsity baseball team.

“You’ve got to be ‘all in’,” Jake said.  “You’ve always got to go hard, no matter what…You’ve always got to give your best.”

When not participating in athletics, Jake is very active around Valwood.  He is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), which partners with local churches and volunteers to help give back the community.

Jake is very aware of the impact that he is able to make by his involvement in the group.

“People notice when you go out of your way,” Jake said.  “There’s a moral lesson in our participation.”

Jake is unsure at the moment of where he will attend college, but he knows that he will pursue a Pre-Med course of study.  He plans to go into a career in orthopedics.

No matter where he attends college, however, Jake is extremely well-prepared due to his time spent at Valwood.

“Being here has taught me how to manage my time,” Jake said.  “Between school, football, and hanging out with my friends…Valwood has prepared me to handle whatever comes my way.”

Also anchoring the offensive and defensive lines is Jake’s twin brother Zach.

Also in his first year as a Valiant, Zach is a leader on and off the field.  His key to success comes directly from his coaching staff and he applies to his everyday life, whether it is in football or anything else.

“Coach Henderson always tells us that we have to stay humble and stay hungry,” Zach said.  “We can’t ever let our ego get out of control.  We always have to give credit where it’s due.”

Aside from football, Zach is also a member of the school’s baseball team, alternating between first base and pitcher.

“Zach is a hard worker,” Coach Alligood said.  “He was hurt for a little while, but we’re definitely glad to have him back in time for the state championship.”

Like his brother, Zach excels in the classroom.  He also participates in FCA and takes part in community service events in his spare time.

“We come early, before school, to participate (in FCA),” Zach said.  “I enjoy it because it reminds us at the school, as well as in the community, that there’s so much more than football that goes on (at Valwood).”

Zach is currently unsure of what college he would like to attend, but he has narrowed his choice of programs to Biology, Pre-Pharmacy and Pre-Med.

“Both (Zach and Jake) made the Headmaster’s List last quarter,” Coach Henderson said.  “It wouldn’t surprise me on bit if both of them end up being doctors.”

Zach also greatly appreciates his time as a Valiant and credits Valwood for his overall success.

“Being (at Valwood) has been great,” Zach said.  “The academics here are excellent.  Being here has also taught me to use my time effectively.”

The Richards twins are the sons of Tony and Kathy Richards.  They have four siblings (Tyler, Abby, Josh, and Erica).

Linebacker and running back Reggie Robinson is in his first season with the Valiants.  He previously starred for Fitzgerald High School (Fitzgerald, Ga.) before joining the defending champions for his senior season.

“I believe the guys (on the team) will always remember me for my leadership,” Robinson said.  “I like to have fun, but at the same time, I know how to take over when it’s time to be serious.”

While he has only attended Valwood for a few months, he has proven himself to be a tremendous presence both athletically and academically.

“(Reggie is) one of the great leaders on defense,” Coach Alligood said.  “He is all over the ball every play.  He’s a great football player.”

His dominance on the field is incomparable. During the 2013 season, Robinson led the team in tackles and has seamlessly carried this unstoppable ability into the postseason.

Aside from being an outstanding football player, Robinson also plans to play basketball and participate on Valwood’s track team.

“Reggie is one of the most mature young men that I’ve ever been around,” Coach Henderson said.  “He shines in the classroom…He’s been a leader since day one, both on and off the field.  He’s a real treat to be around.”

Robinson plans to attend Valdosta State University after graduating from Valwood and would like to pursue a degree in Sports Medicine.  He also plans to pursue a spot on the football team upon arrival.

“Being a Valiant has done so much to prepare me for real life,” Robinson said.  “This school is a great builder of character.”

Robinson also comes from a background that is deeply rooted in religion and credits his success on the football field accordingly.

“It’s by the grace of God that I’m able to do the things that I do in life,” Robinson said.  “I know that as long as I stay close to Him, there is no limit to what I can accomplish.”

Robinson is the son of Reginald Batts and Joann Robinson.  He has two brothers, Kwame and Dennis.

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