2016 Mineral Ridge Football Preview

The Rams begin the season with a home matchup with Py Valley.

Mineral Ridge Rams High School Football - Mineral Ridge, Ohio

2016 Mineral Ridge Football Preview
Head Coach: Jeff Whittaker, 20th season overall (107-95)
2015 Record: 3-7 (2-3), 4th place in ITCL Blue
2016 Division/Region: 6/21

More:High School Football previews from other teams

Revisiting ITCL History
League Championships: None
Total League Record: 36-32 (52.9%)
Winning Seasons in League Play: 5 (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012)
Best League Record: 5-2 (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012)
Worst League Record: 2-5 (2008, 2013)

2015 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 15.1 (43rd in Area)
Scoring Defense: 25.6 (39th in Area)
Passing Offense: 69.6
Rushing Offense: 159.5
Total Offense: 229.1

2015 Results
Jackson-Milton 17 Rams 7
Western Reserve 34 Rams 7
McDonald 29 Rams 6
Rams 46 Lowellville 0
Rams 26 Sebring 12
Columbiana 42 Rams 7
South Range 7 Rams 0
Rams 45 Newton Falls 27
Lisbon 34 Rams 0
Salem 54 Rams 7

Returning Statistical Leaders
Passing: Jacob Lesko – 7 yards, 33.3%
Rushing: Alex Kooyman – 164 yards, 8.2 ypc, TD
Receiving: Jared Miller – 9 catches, 209 yards, TD
Tackles: Justin Cox – 61
Interceptions: Justin Cox – 2

Recent Ram Post-Season Finishes
2005: Division VI (Region 21) Semifinalist
2004: Division V (Region 17) Participant

2016 Schedule
Aug. 26 – Pymatuning Valley, 7
Sept. 2 – Lisbon, 7
Sept. 9 – at Newton Falls, 7
Sept. 16 – at South Range, 7
Sept. 23 – Columbiana, 7
Sept. 30 – at Sebring, 7*
Oct. 7 – Lowellville, 7*
Oct. 14 – at McDonald, 7*
Oct. 21 – Western Reserve, 7*
Oct. 28 – at Jackson-Milton, 7*

Keys on Offense
Following the 2014 seasons, Ridge’s offense had to replace their top rusher (Nick Ferguson) and a slew of key receiving targets. This offseason, the offense is without their starting quarterback (Mac White), standout rusher (Tait Rummel) and one of their top playmakers (Devin Ritchie). Also, they’ll be without a number of starting offensive linemen led by Zane Rummel. Sophomore Jacob Lesko threw 3 passes a year ago after relieving Mac White at the quarterback position. Junior running back Alex Kooyman led the Rams’ in yards per carry (8.2) as he picked up 164 stripes on 20 attempts. Junior Jarred Miller hauled in a team-high 23.3 yards per catch (9 catches, 209 yards). DeCosta Baptiste also had 7 receptions for 85 yards.

Keys on Defense
It’ll be tough to duplicate the production the Rams got from a number of defenders such as Christian Herbert (57 tackles), Zane Rummel (47 tackles), Austin Reese (46 tackles, 2 sacks), Zack Miller (38 tackles, 3 sacks) and Dimetrius Lopez (38 tackles). However, Mineral Ridge returns their leading tackler (Justin Cox), who finished with 61 defensive stops and 2 interceptions. Joining Cox in the secondary is Alex Kooyman – who closed out 2015 with 31 tackles. At linebacker, junior Michael McLean will look to lead the young group into competition following his 23-tackle season.

Final Analysis
It’s been 10-years since the Rams advanced to the post-season (2005). During that time span, Ridge has registered a 51-49 record (51.0%) and has only finished with less than 4 losses once (2007: 8-2). Early on in 2016, the Rams will be challenged week-in-and-week-out as they open against Py Valley and Lisbon at home and then travel to take on an improved Newton Falls team before closing out the non-conference schedule with contests with South Range and Columbiana. That seems to be about the perfect schedule to find out where your team is entering the conference slate. If the Rams are 3-2 (or better) on September 24, look out Blue Tier.

WKBN 27 First News provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. No links will be permitted. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s