Falcons, Oaks set to do battle

By Eric Hale - PDT Sports Contributor

Following up on the previous six to seven years, the Minford Falcons and the Oak Hill Oaks are to play off once again in what is perhaps one of their toughest matchups of the season.

With Minford defeating Rock Hill with the tight-knit score of 22-21, and Oak Hill barely losing to Chesapeake, both teams are looking to play an intense game that will surely be a defining point for each of their respective seasons.

For Minford head coach Jesse Ruby, the second-year leader of the Falcons’ football program really emphasized the desire to match the intensity that the team had against Rock Hill and to build on it, and to keep the drive going for future success.

Mentioning that they played a better fourth quarter than they did the first, coach Ruby further built on the importance of the younger players gaining experience and growing as players in general.

From an offensive standpoint, Ruby plans on attacking from any given vantage points, as well as finding advantages and using them as efficiently as possible. Asking what players to be on the lookout for, he mentioned that Brayden Tilley would be a phenomenal asset to watch, as well as an impressive roster to keep an eye out for. In general, coach Ruby is looking for efficiency out of the offensive line and for the defense to fly to the football and finish plays off.

“We have to be ready for their best effort, and we’re going to play some good football,” Ruby said.

For Nathan Dugan, improvement from the first week to the second is a must, even after an impressive performance against a solid Chesapeake solid.

“The best time to improve is between week one and two,” Dugan said. “It is the time to watch the videos and break them down piece by piece and see what works and what doesn’t.”

Over the past several seasons, Oak Hill has tended to be on the losing end of the rivalry bout, which has tended to be a tight affair during each of the last five seasons. From 2012 to 2016, the Oaks lost each of their contests against the Falcons by 14 points or less, including two overtime affairs. Oak Hill’s determination, however, keeps them at the same tenacious level that leads to these thrilling affairs between the two programs. This determination is also what makes them able to stand up again and fight, which shows character and determination which are driving factors for a good team.

When asked about his roster of players, Dugan spoke about how someone is really able to see how a player practices to see what sort of advancements he is going to make. He also mentions that he is looking for a good game out of a multitude of his players, with Bayley Cutters and Caleb Johnson being among them.

From a tactical standpoint, Dugan mentioned the importance of open field tackling and how that was a building point for them from their loss against Chesapeake, which the team has seemed to learn from.

Overall, Minford at Oak Hill will be an intense game of football that will carry the tradition of both teams bringing their all to a matchup that will carry the intensity all the way to the fourth quarter. Both coaches are pleased with their teams progress after week one, and week two will be just as much of a learning experience and a battle coming into week two.

By Eric Hale

PDT Sports Contributor