A winning tradition is beginning to form in Minford. The Falcons
notched their second straight playoff appearance in 2008, their fourth
in eight years and the fifth in team history. Expectations are high for this year’s team, which is returning 10 starters on offense and seven on defense.
* Players To Watch – QB Aaron Oesch (6-3, 185, Sr.), RB/OLB Brandon McCormick (5-9, 175, Sr.), WR Cory McKnight (6-2, 180, Sr.), OL/DL Mike Gilliam (5-10, 225, Sr.), Ray Bryan (5-9, 165, Sr.), TE Stefan Price (6-1, 220, Sr.), FB/LB Mark Slone (5-10, 190, Jr.), OL/DL Nick Campbell (6-0, 250, Sr.)
* Outlook – A winning tradition is beginning to form in Minford. The Falcons notched their second straight playoff appearance in 2008, their fourth in eight years and the fifth in team history.
“It was our second year running the Wing-T offense and me being the head coach,” head coach Brent Daniels said. “We had some good kids who put a lot of time in the weight room in the offseason, which was a good reason why were were as successful as we were last year. We ended up 8-2, made it to the playoffs and unfortunately got beat in the first round by Wheelersburg.”
The past two years could be just the beginning of the fun times in Minford. Expectations are high for this year’s team, who is returning 10 starters on offense and seven on defense, and the success has spread throughout the community as well.
“You look up at our stands on Friday nights now, especially the past couple of years, they’re completely packed full of people,” Daniels said. “We’re getting a lot of excitement with the pee-wees and the junior high. The excitement’s pretty good. That plays a lot with the kids; that helps them out on Friday nights when they look up and see a packed house and the crowd yelling. I’m really proud of our community coming together and getting behind this football program the way it has the past couple of years.”
Daniels expects this year’s team to be able to move the ball on offense.
“Overall, what we’re going to be able to run offensive-wise, I think we’re going to be able to move that forward quite a bit this year and spread it out a little bit, be able to go to a big backfield or a small backfield,” Daniels said. “We’ve got some good speed this year. We’ve got some good brains — good kids that are smart and have football knowledge.
“We’ve got to replace a couple linemen and a little bit on defense, but overall it seems to be a pretty good squad. Again, they’ve got some good football sense, and I think that’s going to be one of our major strengths. Most of these guys have played since they were sophomores. They’ve been around and have the experience, so that’s a big thing.”
Leading the show for the Falcons will be senior quarterback Aaron Oesch (771 yards passing, 6 TD; 281 rushing, 4 TD), who has started for Minford since his sophomore season.
“We threw him into the fire as a sophomore,” Daniels said. “He put our second-best record (8-2) in history together. He’s mature, turned into a true veteran over the past couple of years. With this being his senior year, you can’t beat the experience the kid’s had. He’s led the team well for a sophomore and as a junior last year.”
Daniels also hopes that the team gained valuable experience from playing in important games over the past two seasons.
“What I’m hoping they picked up is the mental aspect of the game — when you walk on the field, to expect to win, not to expect to compete,” Daniels said. “We’ve been fortunate enough the last two years to make the playoffs and had an 8-2 record, so we’re starting to build a winning tradition here hopefully. I think that’s the main thing is mentally when you walk on the field, you have to expect to win. They were able to be in several big-time atmospheres last year, and I’m hoping that they learn from what it takes to play in those types of atmospheres.”
Schedule-wise, the Falcons will face some tough hurdles to clear.
“We’re going to have some real good tests early in our non-conference,” Daniels said. “We start our non-conference games first; we have five non-conference games. Wellston’s going to be very big. They’ve got a bunch of kids, they’ve got a nice running back. They’re going to be very big and physical. Usually Wellston and Coal Grove outsize us by a tremendous amount, and they are very physical games. I think those two games are probably the two keys right off the bat for us.
“Then we get into our conference play, and we have Wheelersburg in our conference and (Portsmouth) West, who were 9-1 and 10-0 last year, and Waverly, who’s got (Derek Roback) and a couple others who’s being highly recruited. And (Lucasville) Valley; Valley’s coming along real well. It’s going to be a pretty tough schedule for us. Week in and week out, we’re going to have to concentrate on the game at hand and hope we can avoid the injury bug this year.”
Overall, things are looking up for Minford this year as the Falcons have a team on paper that appears to be capable of making waves in both the regular season and postseason.
“The expectations are high this year,” Daniels said. “I’m hoping the kids realize how high the expectations are. I guess you could say the bar’s been set a little bit finally. I think they realize what’s at stake this year and what we’re expected to do this year, so I think the excitement’s there. I think everybody’s ready to get the football season kicked off, and we’re just going to see what happens.”
8/28 @ RIVER VALLEY
9/11 HUNTINGTON (CHILLICOTHE)
9/18 @ DAWSON-BRYANT (COAL GROVE)
9/25 @ OAK HILL
10/9 @ PORTSMOUTH WEST
10/16 NORTHWEST (MC DERMOTT)
10/23 @ WAVERLY
10/30 VALLEY (LUCASVILLE)