The 2017 campaign is winding down for New Miami High School’s football team, but the Vikings are trying to find a late groove.
New Miami improved to 2-6 with a dramatic 30-28 win over visiting Cincinnati College Prep Academy last Friday, preserving the triumph with a sack on a two-point conversion attempt in the final seconds at Mara Field.
“Attitude hasn’t been a problem at all. Effort hasn’t been a problem,” Vikings coach John Singleton said. “With our numbers and some injuries, it’s just that experience gets us sometimes. We make young mistakes. Hopefully what doesn’t kill us will make us stronger in the future.”
Remaining on New Miami’s schedule are a pair of Miami Valley Conference Gray Division contests, vs. Clark Montessori (1-7) at Withrow on Friday and at home against Gray leader Dayton Christian (7-1) in Week 10.
“Everyone is trying hard, real hard,” said Vikings sophomore Dan Spivey, who’s playing running back, wide receiver and rover. “It would be awesome to finish 4-6. I think we have a really good chance to do it.”
Freshman quarterback Trey Robinette — who’s on the verge of throwing for 1,000 yards, a rare feat at New Miami — said the Vikings are showing their mettle.
“As a team, we don’t reflect on our record. We’re a lot better than that,” Robinette said. “I think we can finish strong and prove a lot about ourselves.”
New Miami had a 30-14 lead in the fourth quarter against CCPA, which scored its last touchdown by picking up its own fumble and scampering to the end zone.
“You can laugh about it when you win,” Singleton said. “Trey comes and strips the ball from the quarterback, he fumbles it forward to their fastest guy, and he picks it up and goes for a touchdown. I said, ‘Only here.’ ”
The Vikings transitioned to more of a throwing team weeks ago because Singleton felt that would give his team its best chance at success.
Robinette was 6 of 14 for 53 yards and three TDs against CCPA, but it was the ground attack that truly shined with Robinette (19 carries, 148 yards, TD), Ronnie Bowman (10 carries, 94 yards) and Dalton Garrett (eight carries, 60 yards).
“Our line was winning the line of scrimmage, which we haven’t done very often this year,” Singleton said. “Once we lost one of our receivers, the running game seemed like the best idea.”
The 5-foot-8, 160-pound Robinette is 71 of 155 for 954 yards, nine touchdowns and nine interceptions through the air. He’s also the team’s leading rusher with 370 yards and two TDs on 77 carries.
Bowman (27 catches, 541 yards, four TDs), Jordan Robinette (17 catches, 254 yards, 1 TD) and Spivey (nine catches, 129 yards, two TDs) have been the top receivers. Spivey sat out the CCPA game with an injury, but will play this week.
Asked about his performance this year, Trey Robinette said he was hoping for more success, “but we’ll get better through my four years. It’s been a good journey.”
“Trey has gotten a lot better at finding the open receiver,” Singleton said. “At the beginning of the year, he was a middle-school quarterback. He was wanting to throw to the receivers when they were wide open. He had to learn about throwing it to where they’re expected to run.”
New Miami only has three seniors: Eric Roberts, Franklin Gray and Brody Honaker. And Honaker suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 6 at St. Bernard.
“That hurt us in the defensive backfield, at receiver and at running back,” Singleton said. “I felt so bad for Brody. He was having the best year of his career.”
The veteran coach is high on Spivey’s potential. He’ll be in an offensive backfield rotation with Garrett and Bowman against Clark, but he’s also played some quarterback in addition to his receiving duties.
“He’s been a really pleasant surprise,” Singleton said of the 6-1, 180-pound Spivey. “The growth he’s made from his freshman to sophomore year has been outstanding. If he keeps going at that pace, watch out. That boy’s a player.”
Spivey is generally around the ball wherever he is on the field. He’s got four interceptions and four fumble recoveries on defense.
“Just know where the ball is. That’s really all you’ve got to do,” Spivey said. “It’s fun intercepting the ball and seeing the quarterback’s reaction.”
With most of the roster returning, Singleton believes the Vikings to take a step forward next year.
“I think this is a good crew and good kids,” he said. “I think they’re going to win some games before their career’s over at New Miami.”