MINERAL RIDGE, Ohio (WKBN) –Coach Brian Shaner begins year #3 at Mineral Ridge. In each of his two seasons, the Rams improved. From a team that won two games the year before, his arrival to a 6-win team a year ago, Mineral Ridge has asserted themselves into a program on the rise.
After beginning last year 1-3, the Rams ran off five of their final six games in the win column. During that stretch, Ridge scored an average of 38.7 points per contest.
Mineral Ridge routs Wellington (40-8) before falling to Norwayne (55-14) in the post-season last October.
This year, the Rams must replace many key members who played a significant role.
The new campaign gets underway at home against a formidable opponent in Pymatuning Valley on Friday, August 20.
2020 Record: 6-4 (3-3, 5th place in MVAC Scarlet Tier)
Coach: Brian Shaner, 3rd season at Mineral Ridge (11-9)
Previewing Mineral Ridge’s Offense
Scoring Offense: 31.2 (16th in Area)
Returning Starters: 5
Key Returnees: Mark Bunch, SR/QB; Nathan Rohrman, JR/TE
Key Losses: Randall Miller, WR; Shakir Perkins, RB; Jalen Royal-Eiland, WR
Name to watch: Mark Bunch, QB
The Rams will be without a number of their playmakers from last fall including First-Team All-MVAC selections Shakir Perkins, Jalen Royal-Eiland and Randall Miller. Perkins ran for 1109 yards on 159 carries (7.0 avg) and scored 20 times on the ground. Royal-Eiland caught 38 passes for 430 yards while snagging 5 touchdowns. Miller hauled in 27 balls for an average of 18.6 yards and 2 scores.
Mark Bunch returns for his second season as the Rams signal caller.
“Mark has to be ‘the guy’,” indicates coach Shaner. “Last year, it was easy to try and take some pressure off him with our run game while using Jalen and Randall in our quick passing game. Now, it has to fall on Mark to command the entire offense. I think we were able to do a good job of minimizing Mark running the ball because of Shakir, but this year I could see Mark way more involved in the running game.”
Last season, Bunch completed 60.2% of his passes (112-186) while throwing for 1534 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also gained 240 stripes on the ground (3 TDs).
Look for Ty Tamburro, Mason Miller, Josh Domitrovich, Alex Sturgeon and Nathan Rohrman to take on a heightened role within the offense.
As always, the offensive line is pivotal in the success of any team.
“I believe we have a good, young group anchoring our line. We graduated three seniors from last year’s line, so replacing them is going to take some patience but urgency as well,” Shaner said.
Ben Collins, Zack Stacy and Giovani Gilbert will be joined up front by Mike Collins and a pair of big men who the staff is hoping will step into prominent roles in Gil Blair and Trenton Thomas.
Previewing Mineral Ridge’s Defense
Scoring Defense: 20.9 (22nd in Area)
Returning Starters: 4
Key Returnees: Mark Bunch, SR/DB; Mason Miller, JR/LB; Nathan Rohrman, SR/LB; Zack Stacy, SO/DL; Ty Tamburro, SR/LB
Key Losses: Evan Erb, LB; Austin Governor, DB; Randall Miller, DB; Shakir Perkins, LB; Jalen Royal-Eiland, DB; Joe Rozzi, LB; Triston Weiss, DB; Devon Winford, LB
Name to watch for: Ty Tamburro, LB
Linebackers Ty Tamburro, Nathan Rohrman and Mason Miller all contributed at linebacker a year ago. Tamburro finished with 39 ½ tackles, 3 ½ quarterback takedowns and 2 interceptions. Rohrman had 18 tackles for a loss (43 tackles) and 2 QB sacks. As a sophomore, Miller closed out his year with 23 defensive stops.
“Having Ty, Rohrman and Mason Miller all back to lead our defense will be extremely beneficial. We’ll also be starting Mark Bunch at safety which he started every game there his sophomore year. These four guys will be the nucleus of our defense that we’re very excited about,” Shaner said. “Some of the other guys we will be playing will be first-year starters but got a lot of playing time and are very hungry to compete. All of our offensive line guys will be expected to be in some type of rotation on the defensive front. Zack Stacy, as a freshman, was our starting nose tackle by the end of the season. The players understand the scheme and the overall expectations of the defense. We’ll continue to try to play as fast as we can on the defensive side of the ball, trying to have eleven guys flying around.”
2020 MVAC Scarlet Tier Standings
Springfield – 6-0 (11-1)
McDonald – 5-1 (7-2)
Jackson-Milton – 4-2 (6-3)
Western Reserve – 4-3 (6-4)
Mineral Ridge – 3-3 (6-4)
Lowellville – 2-5 (4-6)
Sebring – 1-5 (2-8)
Waterloo – 0-6 (4-6)
Aug. 20 – Pymatuning Valley
Aug. 27 – at Lisbon
Sept. 3 – Newton Falls
Sept. 10 – McDonald
Sept. 17 – at Springfield
Sept. 24 – at Western Reserve
Oct. 1 – Jackson-Milton
Oct. 8 – Sebring
Oct. 15 – at Lowellville
Oct. 22 – Waterloo