ROSS TWP. — The mindset isn’t going to change for the Ross High School football team. A hard-nosed, smash-mouth regime is still the mainstay.
“It’s going to come down to resiliency,” Rams coach Kenyon Commins said. “This is a resilient group. These guys just want to play and get going. No matter what happens around us, we’re going to continue to do what we’re going to do.”
Ross athletics programs are looking to bounce back with optimism after the recent property tax levy failed, increasing sports fees substantially and limiting numbers.
But Commins, who is entering his fifth season at the Ram helm, likes his 2022 roster.
“We’re going to put our head down and run right into the storm,” Commins said. “These kids can’t control situations around them. I hope our performance will be a reflection of them — hard work and blue collar. I’m liking who we have this season.”
The Rams finished 7-3 last season and will return more than half of their starters for the upcoming campaign.
“Defensively, I think we’re going to be really good,” Commins said. “We’re bringing back seven of 11 starters with a lot of experience. We always say that defense is the good standard for us. I’m anxious to see how that goes for us.”
Senior Bryson Bastin returns at linebacker after recording 101 total tackles in 2021.
“He is the heart and soul and clear cut alpha male for our defense,” Commins said of Bastin. “We won’t have enough time to talk about him.”
Senior Josh Botts will also play some linebacker. He registered 77 tackles last season.
“I don’t think we’re going to have the luxury of watching two guys playing like those two for a very ling time,” Commins said of Bastin and Botts.
Offensively, not much is going to change, according to Commins. “We like to run the ball.”
Commins did say things are still up in the air at the quarterback position. The Rams’ roster only has junior Brayden Bastin listed at QB.
Senior Jaye Warren and senior Riley Caldwell are the go-to running backs.
“They’re both an important piece of our offense,” Commins said of the two backs who rushed for a combined 1,200 yards and eight scores in 2021.
An unsung weapon, according to Commins, is senior kicker Sully Spencer.
“He’s good from 50 (yards) easy,” Commins said. “His kickoffs are gorgeous and impressive as all get-out.”
Other prospects to keep an eye out on, according to The Report, are senior tight end Ryan Iams, senior lineman Cade Tatum, junior lineman Trace Kirby, junior lineman Justin Pence, junior defensive lineman Derrick Rack, senior defensive lineman Frank Gifford, senior defensive back and running back Kyle Becker, senior defensive back Jack Hansel and junior defensive lineman Austin Farris.
Aug. 19 Wilmington
Aug. 26 at Monroe
Sept. 2 Valley View
Sept. 9 at Dubar (7:30 p.m. at UD)
Sept. 16 Badin
Sept. 23 at Northwest
Sept. 30 at Talawanda
Oct. 7 at Harrison
Oct. 14 Edgewood
Oct. 21 Mount Healthy