Things have definitely turned around for the Miami East football
program. The Vikings bounced back from five straight losing seasons
with an 8-3 mark in 2007, and 2008 went even better. What’s in store for 2009?
Miami East (9-2)
* Players To Watch – RB Tyler Dunivan (6-1, 200, Sr.), RB Brock Smith (5-7, 160, Jr.), WR/DB Jared Brown (5-7, 155), WR/OLB Dalton Saylor (5-10, 145, Sr.), OL/ILB Tyler Matheson (5-11, 205, Sr.), DT Joe Fulton (6-1, 230, Sr.)
* Outlook – Things have definitely turned around for the Miami East football program. The Vikings bounced back from five straight losing seasons with an 8-3 mark in 2007, and 2008 went even better.
“It went real well,” said head coach Max Current. “We won a league title, and that hasn’t happened since 1983, so it was an exciting year. It was also our 50th year of football at our school, so there was a lot of celebration in honoring players of the past. It was a great year to be a part of.”
The success of the football team has caught on in the community and the rest of the school, helping the athletic program win their conference’s all sports trophy the past two years.
“It’s been great,” Current said. “Everybody’s been excited, going to all the games. We’ve been packing our side of the stadium (at road games). It’s just a good atmosphere.”
Last year’s team left a mark on this year’s players as well, both on and off the field.
“I think they learned to handle adversity better in practice or in games and everyday life,” Current said. “This was our first year in a while that we hadn’t had any academic casualties going into the next year, and that’s something that we’ve kind of had to fight and work through that. This bunch of guys in the last two years, they really learned what it takes to have a winning team.”
The Vikings also had a quality offseason as a result.
“We had everybody accounted for either (in a spring sport) or in the weight room, so that was a good situation for us in the offseason,” Current said.
Five starters return on each side of the ball for the Vikings, but the team lost 16 seniors and three All-Ohio players from last year’s team, which will require some of the returning players to pick up the slack.
“We’re going to need some guys to step up,” Current said. “We’ve kind of ridden this past year’s graduating class the last three years. As a class, it’s been on their shoulders. Now it’s these guys’s time. When it’s your time, it’s time for you to step up, and that’s what we’re hoping to accomplish.”
Current does expect the team to continue to have a strong running game, even without two-time All-Ohio running back Sam Smallwood.
“We return almost 1,800 yards rushing, and that’s not even our leading rusher from last year,” Current said. “So we ought to be able to run the ball like we have been.”
Current expects the team to have tough challenges both in and out of conference play.
“We have a tough opener against (West Milton) Milton-Union,” Current said. “We haven’t beaten them for a while. They’re a quality opponent before league play.
“We open conference play with Arcanum; they’re traditionally a good ball club. We have Covington right in the middle of the schedule there, and they’re always the league favorite. We finish up with Ansonia, who I think’s probably the team to beat in the league this year, the last game of the regular season for us. I think the league’s more balanced this year. Last year, we were so senior-dominated and everybody else we kind of had our way with. I think this year the scales have been balanced.”
Still, this year’s team expects to carry on their winning ways.
“We have a league title to defend, and that’s our attitude,” Current said. “We want to have high expectations; we shouldn’t have it any other way.”
8/28 MILTON-UNION (WEST MILTON)
9/4 @ ARCANUM
9/11 MISSISSINAWA VALLEY (UNION CITY)
9/18 @ BETHEL (TIPP CITY)
10/2 @ TRI-COUNTY NORTH (LEWISBURG)
10/9 @ BRADFORD
10/16 TWIN VALLEY SOUTH (WEST ALEXANDRIA)
10/23 @ NATIONAL TRAIL (NEW PARIS)