COLLEGE HILL – With a roster almost triple what it was last year, Aiken High School’s football program is hoping to turn a corner.
“It’s a culture thing — we’ve established what we’re calling ‘the new Aiken way,’” said first-year Aiken coach Jeremy Pflug, who previously coached at Landmark Christian. “When we came on board we told them there would be changes and it needs to happen now if you want to win. They’ve bought in. The kids talk about it every day.”
In addition to changing the culture, Pflug said they’ve completely revamped the offensive and defensive schemes. The way Pflug put it, “We fly around like crazy.”
Five starters return in sophomore cornerback Tim Williams, senior quarterback Samonte Griffin, senior linebacker/tight end Isaiah Lyles, junior running back/linebacker Nadarrien Duncan and junior wide receiver/safety Josh Smith.
Pflug said junior linebacker/fullback Monte Reece is “one of the heart and souls of our team,” to go with junior lineman Luis Martinez, junior defensive end Terrell Harris and junior safety/wide receiver Eriquan Price.
Currently, Pflug is stressing discipline.
“We feel like if we do the little things better than everybody else, our athleticism can compete with anybody. It’s about the little things,” said Pflug.
In the revamped Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference – now called Southwest Ohio Public League, Pflug hopes his increased numbers and mindset make the difference.
“We’ve got a lot of younger guys that have stepped up,” he said. “We don’t have a single senior captain.”
Before Pflug arrived, Aiken had speed and athleticism, but over the spring and summer Pflug said they hit the weights and he’s seeing those benefits.
“We’ve pounded the weights this summer,” said Pflug. “That was a huge key, making sure we’re strong condition-wise.”
Expect Aiken to play fast. Offensively, Pflug said they want to get out and go, snapping the ball every 12-15 seconds. Pflug added he’s got around five guys who he anticipates can contribute in the running and passing games.
Aug. 28 – Bishop Brossart, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 4 – Jefferson Township
Sept. 11 – At Lockland
Sept. 17 – At Belmont
Sept. 26 – Ponitz Career Tech, 1 p.m.
Oct. 2 – At Woodward
Oct. 10 – Gamble Montessori, 4 p.m.
Oct. 16 – At Cincinnati College Prep
Oct. 22 – At Hughes
Oct. 30 – At Riverview East
All games are 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.