Thursday, August 20, 2009
Camp Kovak, first stop – Ringgold
Blogger's note: This is the first in a short series based on Observer-Reporter sports writer Mike Kovak's stops at high school training camps.
Ringgold finished 6-4 in 2008 – its best record since 2000. Gone from that team is every starter but one (Billy Marnich) and coach Jeff Petrucci, who retired.
The Rams want to build on last year's success under first-year head coach Lloyd Price, a former three-sport standout at Ringgold and the school's athletic director. Price was a starting linebacker at Cal U and he'll be bringing some of the Vulcans coach John Luckhardt's philosophies with him.
Is Ringgold rebuilding or reloading?
"I think this is a bit of a rebuilding project," Price said before Ringgold embarked for a week-long camp at California University.
Finding another WPIAL coach with as few returning starters and lettermen as Price and Ringgold would be difficult. Still, the Rams believe the season won't be a wash despite being selected to finish six in the Class AAA Big Seven Conference in a preseason coaches poll.
Ringgold plans to rely on a large number of receivers and its overall speed. The Rams might be the smallest team in the conference but they want to create matchup problems on the football field.
"We're molding our team based on personnel," Price said. "We're not going to be a staff that has a set system and that's it."
Price believes potential breakout players could be defensive lineman Julius Coleman, receiver/defensive back Derrick Fiore and center Neal Rands, among others.