The New Richmond football team is looking for a repeat performance of the 2011-12 season, but under new head coach Scott Herman, the Lions will have to achieve that goal one game at a time.
“For us, right now we’re just focusing on the next game, which is Indian Hill,” Herman said. “In Ohio football, you have to win each game. That’s the biggest thing.
“Our goal is to obviously win a league championship and get into the playoffs, but to look down the road at winning the league and stuff, we’re just not focused on that right now.”
The Lions went 4-0 in the Southern Buckeye Conference American Division to take the league and added a 4-2 record out of conference to finish the season 8-2.
As with all high school squads, New Richmond will have to deal with new players filling roles vacated by graduating seniors from the year before. Herman feels confident that he has a good core of talent returning as well as some newcomers who will be able to keep the Lions competitive.
One thing that may not be as common, however, is that there will be some wrinkles thrown into the team strategy as Herman steps in as the first-year head coach of the Lions.
“Offensively we will be the same,” Herman explained. “We have the same offensive coordinator – Chuck Warden. He’s from New Richmond and he’s a guy that I’ve worked for at Loveland High School in 1998, so I’ve known him for a long time.
“Defensively, we’ll be a slant and angle team like they were last year with a bunch of different pressure packages. They ran a lot of it last year, but new coaches put their own twist on it. We’re based out of the 50, but it’s more of a 3-4 pressure package defense, so we’re trying to bring pressure and give offenses different looks and put our kids in the best positions to make plays.”
As for the turnover among personnel, Herman will have to fill in spots of 11 graduating seniors, seven of which were all-conference selections, including SBC-A Co-Player of the Year, tail back Nick Hill.
“The main thing when you start talking about our team is that we have the offensive line back, so that’s huge,” Herman said. “Led by Cole Bird, JR Forsee, Jay Troy, Austin Campbell and Will Lytle. All those guys played a lot last year, so we have a lot of experience on the offensive line. That will be the key to our offense, having all those guys back.
“We did lose a lot of skill kids. We lost (Derrick Dillow) the quarterback, we lost (Danny Scholz) the fullback, we lost (Hill) the tail back, so we’ve got a bunch of different kids that are competing for some of those spots.
“Levi Simpson will be a junior and he’s the frontrunner for the quarterback position. Levi has great leadership qualities, very intelligent, he knows the game. He’s a hard worker and very coachable. In the running back and fullback positions, we have a lot of people playing there. Clay Loadman, Tyler Anderson, Blake Thompson, James White.
“We’re going to play a lot of different kids and we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks who can play.”
On defense, the Lions return one of their leader’s from last year’s team, inside linebacker Alex Horn, who also plays tight end of offense.
Helping out Horn will be Bird (DL), Clay Loadman (DL), White (DE) along with some others. Herman expects to rotate in six or seven players on the defensive line.
In the secondary, similar the offensive skill positions, the Lions will have to put some fresh faces on the field, but Herman is encouraged by the number of players that can play on both sides of the ball.
“One thing that I’m not really used to yet is that in Texas, where I was defensive coordinator, we had 280 kids, so they were only playing one side of the ball,” Herman said. “Here, we’re sharing a lot of kids offensively and defensively, which is really good because that way we get a lot of depth cause kids are learning two positions.”
The Lions will begin their season on August 24 at Indian Hill, and then play McNicholas and Taylor in the follow two weeks before kicking off conference play at Western Brown on September 14.