SHREVEPORT, La (KMSS/KTAL) – From 2016 to 2018 the Huntington Raiders won just nine games.

Since that 2018 campaign the Raiders have righted the ship, posting an 11-8 record over the last two seasons under Head Coach Steven Dennis.

“You don’t enjoy it too much because you go from selling people on a hope, of a dream, or a vision of what we’re trying to build,” Dennis says. “Then you steadily start to see the walls come up, and these things called expectations show up.”

For the first time in decades, the expectations for the school down Rasberry Lane are high. The Raiders 6-2 2020 featured the school’s first playoff victory since 2009.

“It’s exciting but at the same time it’s stressful too because you’ve got to live up to it,” says wide receiver Zyion Claville.

As more eyes in the football world turn their attention to Huntington, as do the eyes of recruiters.

Wide receiver Zyion Claville holds three power 5 offers, while fellow pass catcher Kendrick Rucker has already committed to Louisiana Tech, providing another new opportunity for a program which has already learned so much.

“Our job is to provide an avenue for our kids to use their athletic ability to pay for college,” Dennis says. “Because that opens up avenues later in life.”

The athletes are here, the community is behind them, the foundation is set. It’s time for the Huntington Raiders to live up to the expectation.

“Go to state. We’re tying to go to state. That’s the expectation,” says Rucker. “We don’t want nothing less but state.”

Huntington opens the 2021 season on Thursday September 2nd at home against Byrd.