4 Questions with Richmond Academy head coach Lyle Burns

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Today’s interviewee is Richmond Academy coach Lyle Burns, whose team defeated Thomson 42-28 last week, breaking a nine-game losing streak to Thomson dating to 1998. Richmond Academy is 2-0 in region play for the first time since 2009. Burns, in his fourth season, is 21-17, making him the only Musketeers coach in the past 40 years with a winning record.

Lyle Burns, Richmond Academy head coach

1. What did it mean to your team and program to beat Thomson? “The most important aspect of the win was that it put us closer to getting in the playoffs again and its implications on seeding. It was also nice to play well on offense. We have struggled at times to be productive on that side of the ball. We hope that the game helps us get going a little better. Finally, beating a reputable program such as Thomson is exciting for our community and players. The important thing now is to put it behind us and play the next game.”

2. ARC has made the playoffs each of your first three seasons, and you’re in good shape to make it four in a row. What have you and your staff done there that has made the biggest difference in making ARC a perennial playoff team? “Just the staff itself has made a large impact. We have an extremely knowledgeable staff that are also good men that care about our players. Our setup is not ideal, so our coaches' and players' willingness to do all of the necessary things to be successful, although there are many obstacles, is special. Both parties have made a commitment to each other.”

3. What would you want people to know about your current team? Its style, strengths? “We are proud of our players and consider them family. We don’t have a big roster, but the kids who do play and don’t quit are special to us because they have made an uncommon decision to be a part of something bigger than themselves. It’s very easy to quit or not play with all of the requirements and commitment involved. We love our players.”

4. Augusta is better known for producing good basketball teams. What are the challenges to making football more successful, having a Richmond County Schools team break through and make a run in the football playoffs? “The biggest challenges are with our daily setup. We do not have weightlifting during the day, which pushes it to after school. This extends the day, and it is also difficult to lift intensely when you just finished a full school day and you still have to practice. It also makes the offseason challenging with kids who play other sports, which we encourage, have to work and help support their families, or have transportation issues. We are also on a seven-period day rather than block. This cuts a credit opportunity each year. Our feeder programs are not linked to the high schools either, nor do they have middle school weightlifting. A lot of schools are in a similar situation. It’s not just us. I have a lot of appreciation for our players and coaches for overcoming these obstacles.”

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