Jessie Hubbard is ready to do some winning with New Miami High School’s football team.
The first-year head coach likes what he’s seeing from his Vikings and believes they’re ready to charge forward after collecting just seven victories over the past three seasons. New Miami was 2-8 last year under John Singleton, who’s now an offensive line coach at Edgewood.
“I can’t complain one bit about the transition. The kids have been great,” Hubbard said. “We’ve got to set the bar high. I don’t mean to sound egotistical, but I think from what I’ve seen and what I’ve seen on film, we’re going to be very good. Definitely not 2-8.”
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Hubbard brings an old-school mentality to the program with a bruising ground attack and a 50 defense. He’ll run the offense, while Michael Pressler coordinates the defense.
The offense is a combination of the Wing-T and a power-based full house.
“A lot of misdirection, a lot of isos … it’s Wing-T blocking schemes with a backfield running the full house and the Wing-T,” Hubbard said. “The offensive line might be the strength of the team. They’re coming off the ball hard, and their pad level is good. If we stay healthy on the offensive line, we’re going to have a big year.”
That line has three returning seniors — tackles Bruce Montgomery (6-3, 275) and Erik Tatman (5-9, 235), and guard Robbie Hundley (5-7, 195).
“They’re strong and relentless,” Hubbard said. “Those three kids get after it, and the younger kids are falling into place now.”
Junior center Austin Hart (6-0, 285) and sophomore guard Dylan Spivey (5-10, 190) also figure to be starters on the O-line. Senior Ronnie Bowman (6-2, 215) is an experienced tight end.
Running backs include seniors David Cunningham (6-0, 205) and Gage Retherford (6-0, 220), who both played at Hamilton last season. Junior Danny Spivey (6-3, 195) was an offensive jack-of-all-trades for the Vikings in 2017 and will carry the ball this year, and senior Dalton Garrett (5-9, 220) returns as a true fullback.
Sophomore Trey Robinette (5-10, 180) is back to direct the offense at quarterback after throwing for 1,075 yards and rushing for a team-best 399 yards last year. Sophomore Jordan Robinette (5-9, 150) returns at wide receiver.
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“Once Trey gets up to the line of scrimmage, it’s unbelievable what that kid can do,” Hubbard said. “No matter what he’s doing, when he’s scrambling, his eyes are downfield. He can feel pressure and doesn’t have to look. That’s not coachable. That’s something he’s just got.
“I really do think our offense is going to be tough to stop. They’ve never been in games where they’ve imposed their will on people. Everybody’s playing iron-man football, and we’ll keep pounding and pounding. Our goal is to keep everything close and start wearing on people in the second half.”
Defensively, safeties Trey Robinette and Danny Spivey are back, as are cornerbacks Jordan Robinette and Donovan Howard (5-8, 140), a sophomore.
“Donovan gives more effort than anybody on the team,” Hubbard said. “He’s very little, but he’s athletic, runs well and tackles.”
Returning on the defensive line are Montgomery and Tatman at tackle, and Hundley at nose guard.
Hubbard is looking for his linebackers to play with more of a downhill mind-set, but he said it’s a group with potential. Garrett and Cunningham are on the inside, and Bowman and Retherford are on the outside.
“Ronnie’s going to spend a lot of time with his hand in the dirt depending on how they’re lined up,” Hubbard said. “We’re going to blitz him a lot.”
Senior Nate Hobbs (6-3, 195) is sidelined for several weeks with a shoulder injury, but is expected to contribute at outside linebacker and tight end.
Hobbs is a returning punter, though Cunningham will start the year there. New Miami’s plan is to kick extra points this year — Trey Robinette, Hundley and Cunningham are in that mix, with Howard as the snapper.
“The kids are excited,” Hubbard said. “The biggest thing is the mind-set. The first two days of two-a-days were a 2-8 mentality. I had to really push them to go to an 8-2 mentality, and I think they’re starting to see how good they can be. The confidence is rising.
“They’re hard-nosed, New Miami kids. We’re going to play power football and try to keep the offense on the field and the defense off the field. We just have to avoid injuries.”
The Vikings will travel to Ross for a combined practice with the Rams on Friday morning, then visit Fayetteville-Perry for a 7 p.m. scrimmage Aug. 17.
NEW MIAMI VIKINGS
Coach: Jessie Hubbard, first season
OHSAA designation: Division VII, Region 28
Playoff history: 0-1 in 1 appearance (2008)
2017 record: 2-8 overall, 1-4 in the Miami Valley Conference Gray Division (fifth)
Schedule: Aug. 25 — Gamble Montessori, 6 p.m.; Aug. 31 — at Greenon, 7 p.m.; Sept. 7 — Deer Park, 7 p.m.; Sept. 14 — at Jefferson, 7 p.m.; Sept. 21 — Cincinnati Country Day, 7 p.m.; Sept. 28 — St. Bernard, 7 p.m.; Oct. 5 — at Lockland, 7 p.m.; Oct. 13 — vs. Cincinnati College Prep Academy at Western Hills, 6 p.m.; Oct. 19 — Clark Montessori, 7 p.m.; Oct. 26 — vs. Dayton Christian at Harmon Field, Miamisburg, 7 p.m.