The Minford Falcons football season takes flight this week in a season-opening match-up against the Rock Hill Redmen. Coming off of a disappointing 2015 campaign which saw the Falcons finish 4-6, first-year head coach Jesse Ruby looks to get off to a good start.
“I think that it’s very important to start off positive. You want to start off on a positive and hope that that carries you through the season. You don’t want to start off on a loss,” Ruby said.
According to Ruby, starting the season at home plays an important role in getting off to that positive start.
“I think it gives us an advantage, in a way,” Ruby said. “You know, you’ve got the home crowd… you’re playing on a field that the kids are used to. You know, they’re accustomed to it, so I’m hoping that that translates to them being able to execute things efficiently.”
The last two match-ups between these two teams haven’t gone well for Rock Hill, with Minford winning both games by a combined score of 80-6, including a 40-0 shutout in 2012. Despite these successes, Ruby isn’t taking this game lightly.
“From the things that I’ve seen and the things that I know about them, I think this is going to be a tough one (game),” said Ruby. “I think their fullback is a very good football player. He hits the hole hard and he’s hard to bring down.”
Ruby looks to senior linebacker Dillon Shepherd to help contain the Redmen running game. Shepherd sat out last season with an injury, so Ruby is hoping that he’ll be somewhat of an unknown quantity on the field.
“He (Shepherd) was a starting linebacker as a sophomore and not being able to play his whole entire junior season, I look for him to surprise some people who may have forgot how it was in his sophomore season,” said Ruby.
For their part, Rock Hill is coming off of a 2015 season that saw them tally up six wins against four losses. Head Coach Todd Knipp led the team to some big wins last season, including two consecutive road wins against Oak Hill and Chesapeake early in the season.
Coach Ruby hopes to stymie the Redmen defense with a multitude of looks on the offensive side of the ball.
“We’ve transitioned more into a spread offense, to try to spread the field horizontally and vertically to try to create space for our players and one-on-one match-ups, but we can also shift into an under-center two-back pro-style offense,” said Ruby.
The Falcons hope to iron out any early season kinks this week before heading into a tough match-up against SOC I contender Oak Hill next week.
Minford and Rock Hill are scheduled to kick off Friday night at 7 p.m. at Minford High School in Minford, Ohio.