MINERAL RIDGE, Ohio (WKBN) – Brian Shaner begins his fourth season at Mineral Ridge. Since Lew Lowery’s 11-year stint at the school from 1987-97, Shaner ties the longest tenure (with Joe Stevens from 2009-12) of any head coach to lead the program within the last 24 years.

“Our expectation is very simple,” states Shaner. “To be at practice and work hard every day. We return a lot of key pieces that have been in our system for four years so we should be ready to go from day one.”

The graduation of quarterback Mark Bunch (1402 yards, 16 TDs) and of their playmakers Ty Tamburro (32 catches, 448 yards) and Aaron Myers (15 catches, 5 TDs) will be difficult to replace.

The competition for the Rams’ signal caller will be contested between Triston Valley (706 yards passing, 6 TDs, 60.8% with Girard) and Ian Erb this summer. Coach Shaner likes what he has there, “Both are great, dual-threat quarterbacks. Nathan Rohrman is returning as our feature back but look for Valley and Erb to carry the ball as well.” Rohrman played in only six games last season and gained 697 yards on the ground while averaging 8.0 yards per carry.

Mason Miller and Julian Rozzi are both returning at wide receiver. Miller, a senior, led the team in receptions (38) and finished second on the team in receiving yards (445) and rushing yards (211).

Anchoring the offensive line will be a pair of seniors in Giovan Gilbert and Ben Collins, two players who were honored by the MVAC at the end of last season. “We’ll also have our two-year starting center Zach Stacy back as well,” states Shaner. “It’s the same as every level, you’re as good as your offensive line is. So, we’re counting on these guys to be better than good.”

On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Nate Rohrman led the team in tackles as a junior with 96 takedowns. He also was tied for the lead on quarterback sacks (6). His classmate Mason Miller finished second with 80 tackles (6 QB Sacks). Michael Chaney and Julian Rozzi had 4 and 2 interceptions respectively as undergraduates a year ago.

Shaner looks at his defensive unit as the strength of the team, “We have a great nucleus back starting with Rohrman and Miller. Add in Tristan Valley at linebacker is a positive. We’ll also return Jacob Russell and Zach Stacey along the defensive front. We have Rozzi and Chaney at cornerback. We’re excited about a young lettermen Brady Balestrino that we’ll have a safety.”

Mineral Ridge opens their season at Pymatuning Valley on Friday, August 19.

Mineral Ridge Rams
Fast Facts
Head Coach: Brian Shaner, 4th season at Mineral Ridge (15-14)
2021 Record: 4-5 (2-4), T-5th place in MVAC Scarlet Tier
Last 5 Years: 23-26 (46.9%)
Home Field: Joe Lane Stadium
League: Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference, Scarlet Tier
Base Offense: Spread
Base Defense: 3-3 Stack

Returning Starters
Offense: 8
Defense: 8

2021 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 23.9 (34th in Area)
Scoring Defense: 28.7 (41st in Area)
Total Offense: 297.0
Rushing Offense: 142.0
Passing Offense: 155.0

2021 Individual Leaders
Passing: Mark Bunch – 1402 yards, 61.2% (115-188), 16 TDs
Rushing: Nathan Rohrman – 697 yards, 8.0 avg, 5 TDs
Receiving: Ty Tamburro – 448 yards, 14.0 avg, 5 TDs
Tackles: Nathan Rohrman – 96
Quarterback Sacks: Nathan Rohrman & Mason Miller – 6
Interceptions: Michael Chaney – 4

2021 Results
Rams 33 Waterloo 30
Lowellville 56 Rams 28
Rams 40 Sebring 6
Western Reserve 28 Rams 0
Springfield 55 Rams 7
McDonald 21 Rams 14
Rams 36 Newton Falls 22
Rams 50 East Palestine 18
Pymatuning Valley 22 Rams 7

2021 MVAC Scarlet Tier Standings
Springfield – 7-0 (13-2)
Western Reserve – 5-1 (5-6)
Lowellville – 4-2 (7-3)
McDonald – 3-2 (3-6)
Mineral Ridge – 2-4 (4-5)
Waterloo – 2-4 (3-7)
Jackson-Milton – 1-5 (2-7)
Sebring – 0-6 (1-8)

2022 Schedule
Aug. 19 – at Pymatuning Valley
Aug. 26 – Orange
Sept. 2 – at Newton Falls
Sept. 9 – at McDonald
Sept. 16 – Springfield
Sept. 23 – Western Reserve
Sept. 30 – at Jackson-Milton
Oct. 7 – at Sebring
Oct. 14 – Lowellville
Oct. 21 – at Waterloo