By Joe Ostrica and Ryan Kaczmarski
After a 2-0 start to the 2013 season, the North Ridgeville football team has already doubled its win total from last year. Head coach Jeff Riesen said he and his coaching staff are very pleased with where the Rangers are right now.
“Our motto for the season has been ‘All In,’ meaning one team, together, and everyone has responded by putting the team first during the preseason and the first two weeks of this season,” he said.
Following its 34-21 upset over Westlake in the season opener, North Ridgeville had little trouble taking care of Parma, winning on the road in a 58-22 contest. The star of the game was Ranger sophomore Demario McCall, who ran for six touchdowns and 367 yards, rushing mostly in just the first half with one series in the second half.
“The unsung heroes were his offensive line of tackle Willy Hedberg, guard Sam Schults, center Chad Ferrara, guard Mike Esler, tackle Nick Bailey and tight end Matt Feierabend,” Riesen said. “These linemen, along with fullback Jonah Bowden, opened the holes for Demario all night long.”
It should be to no one’s surprise that North Olmsted has also started the season 2-0. The team has been invigorated by first-year head coach Tim Brediger, who – along with is new coaching staff – have the Eagles primed for a playoff run this season.
“Our goal every week is to control the football – as far as turnovers, and win the battle there – that’s number one, and number two, is to establish the running game and to stop their running game,” Brediger said. “Our focus is going to be on their young sophomore tailback (McCall). Our kids know who he is and we’re well aware of him. It’s obviously our game plan to stop the run, but now especially when you have a kid who put up a few touchdowns versus Westlake, and now six more versus Parma, so that will be our prime focus.”
Brediger also knows that his team needs to focus on the whole game, and cut down on its penalties.
“A big thing is our discipline,” he said. “We have a new defensive system, and we’re starting to ‘get it’ today. We’ve seen some signs of maturity now that we didn’t see during training camp. We just need to eliminate mistakes, control the football and minimize penalties. If we can do those things, and try to stop the run as best we can, we should have a shot to win it.”
North Olmsted senior quarterback Brad Novak leads the Eagles’ offense with both his arm and his legs, as he has already rushed for four touchdowns, and passed for two more, this young season.
Riesen said the Rangers will have to be careful about Novak and focus on getting better to win the matchup.
“We must continue to improve in all the little things in every phase of the game: offense, defense and special teams,” he said.
In addition to a good matchup between two undefeated teams, the Rangers will also be hosting North Ridgeville Youth Football Night Friday. Riesen said its a way to recognize all the younger teams throughout the city.
“Ranger Pride Football is a family, and by doing this we are sharing this night with some of the younger members of our family,” he said.