Despite a 0-10 record a year ago the Tigers of McClain are looking forward to the start of the 2018 season. McClain and former head coach Jeremy Andrews parted ways at the close of the 2017 season and the Tigers named Jake Orr-Zody the head coach earlier in 2018.
The Tigers hope that the change in leadership will result in better results for the 2018 season.
Coach Orr-Zody talked about the differences between this team and the 2017 squad, “The Staff is very different. We return three staff members from last year. Our personnel and team are different.”
Orr-Zody continued by saying, “We have some returners but also some newcomers that we will depend on. There will be some schematic changes as well.”
The makeup of the team, 25 juniors and seniors combined, means that McClain has a strong group of returning players that are motivated to compete and improve on a daily basis.
The number of seniors is one of the strengths of the team this season according to Orr-Zody, “I think a strength is the number of seniors we have on our team.”
The coach also expects the seniors on the team to be leaders for the underclassmen.
“I expect all the seniors to improve and take leadership roles. It’s the only way we’ll get better and have success,” said Orr-Zody.
McClain will be strong on the offensive line as they return many of their starters and coach Orr-Zody highlighted the unit as a potential strength for the team in 2018.
The Tigers realize that the overall inexperience of the team as well as the time that it takes to implement new schemes and game plans are obstacles that the team will have to navigate successfully to be the best that they can be this year.
The boys from Greenfield will measure success on a weekly basis according to Orr-Zody, “We will gauge our success on how much we can improve on a weekly and daily basis. We want to get better on a weekly basis. If we improve weekly we’ll have success.”
Orr-Zody took the time to acknowledge the McClain fans and said, “Greenfield McClain has some of the best and loyal fans in the world.”
9/14 at East Clinton – The Tigers go on the road for the first time in 2018 to take on former South Central Ohio League rivals the Astros of East Clinton. McClain lost to the Astros in week four of the 2017 season by a score of 28-14.
9/28 at Miami Trace – McClain will open the Frontier Athletic Conference portion of their schedule on the road as they travel to Washington Court House to take on the Panthers of Miami Trace. The Tigers fell to the Panthers in week six of the 2017 season with a final score of 46-0.
10/19 vs Jackson – Seniors for the football team and cheerleaders will be honored in week nine of the 2018 season when the Tigers host Jackson on Senior Night. The Ironmen defeated McClain in week nine of the 2018 season by a score of 48-0.
10/26 at Hillsboro – The Tigers will travel to Hillsboro to close the season in the 34th annual Rotary Bowl. McClain will be looking to avenge a 61-13 loss to the Indians to end the 2017 season and to bring the Rotary Bowl trophy back to Edward Lee McClain High School.
McClain has the opportunity to be a much improved team in 2018 and much of that success is going to depend on how well the boys in the program adjust to and execute Orr-Zody’s offensive and defensive schemes.
The Tigers also received an infusion of talent this year that could lead to more success on the field. Along with the infusion of talent a strong core of returning players will give McClain all the tools to have a successful season.
Expect the Tigers to be much more competitive this season despite the challenges of learning a new system on both sides of the ball. It is likely that the Tigers finish with an overall record bordering on .500 in 2018.
After the struggles of previous seasons the Tigers appear ready to take a step forward this season.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.