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Richey assesses circumstances at JEHS

Newly-hired John Essex High School football coach Lenoise Richey started his tenure with the Hornets July 1 and has since taken the opportunity to assess the status of his new players.

“Their attitudes are better than what I anticipated,” Richey said. “They all sounded excited when I first called them on the phone. They’re enthused. They’re excited about a new beginning. They’re ready for a change.”

Richey’s first and greatest challenge is to make up for the time that was lost between the end of the school year and his July 1 start date.

“It’s a unique situation,” he said. “I didn’t start until July 1. So they had a whole month without a leader.”

When he first stepped foot on the campus of JEHS, Richey had to undertake the task of locating and gathering his players. His initial meeting saw only three athletes show up. Since that time, the Hornet football team has gradually added more faces.

“They seem to be accepting responsibility,” Richey said. “So far, I’ve honestly been pleased with them.”

Richey reported that a number of his players have gradually been talking classmates showing up for team exercises and workouts, creating the possibility that the Hornets could ultimately dress more than the 19 players that started last season on the roster.

In addition to assessing the young men on his roster, Richey has also had his first chance to take note of the program’s equipment and facilities.

“In terms of facilities, I like the location of our weight room. Game uniforms are in decent shape,” Richey said. “(The players) are getting stickers on the helmets this year and they are very excited about that.”

Richey said his arrival has also been accompanied by a strong show of support from the administration and board of education.

“I was very pleased to see that the Marengo County board of education is letting us put new lights up,” Richey said. “I don’t think, from an administration end, they could be more supportive than what they are right now with me.”

Richey said that every chore he now faces is predicated on establishing himself with the players.

“It’s just showing them that I care. My goal here in the next couple of weeks is visiting as many of them as I can in their homes. I plan on having a Hornet Night and giving them the chance to get to know me,” Richey said. “I want them to know I’m not just here for the paycheck, I’m here to make a difference in the lives of these young men.”

Richey hopes to have his first full team practice next week.