NEW RICHMOND – Midnight Madness is usually associated more with basketball, but New Richmond High School football coach Josh Stratton gave it a new twist this season.
Just as he had at other stops, he held a team camp-out July 31, the night before “official” prep football practice. However, those on the hill at Bethel-New Richmond Road, may have noticed a glare as the clock struck 12.
Stratton let his Lions loose at the stroke of midnight for a brief workout, before sending them to the showers and back to their tents. Six hours later, the bugle sounded for the team’s second practice on Aug. 1 in the cool of the dawn.
The strategy was for team building and to create excitement. In recent years, New Richmond has had exciting seasons, only to fall short in the numbers game for the playoffs.
“Every year we’re trying to get over that hump,” Stratton said. “We dropped down to Division IV this year, so we’re in a different region. In Southwest Ohio, every region’s competitive. It doesn’t matter if you’re IV, III, II or I. Hopefully, we can continue to win games and the teams we beat win games to help get us in.”
Last year’s Lions were 7-3, tied with Norwood and Western Brown for the Southern Buckeye Conference-American Division lead. Co-Player of the Year Tyler Anderson has graduated, but his twin brothers Derik and Erik are back playing on both sides of the ball.
“Most of our guys are back,” Stratton said. “We return 18 lettermen, so we’ve got a lot of experience. But, we also have some with zero experience.”
Tyler Sammons leads the linemen and should help junior quarterback Austin Torrens, who moves from receiver to direct the offense.
“He’s a nice looking kid at 6-foot-3 and just under 200 pounds,” Stratton said. “He has a real strong arm and he’s a real good leader.”
Stratton believes the SBAAC-American will be better and is looking forward to opening with the first three games at home, starting with Indian Hill on Aug. 28.
“It’s a great environment,” Stratton said. “I tell them there’s nothing they’re going to do in their high school career where a couple thousand people are going to watch them play. It’s the best ticket in town on Friday night in New Richmond to come to Lions Stadium.”
Twitter account: @NewRichmondFB
Aug. 28 – Indian Hill
Sept. 4 – Taylor
Sept. 11 – CHCA
Sept. 18 – at Batavia
Sept. 25 – at Bethel-Tate
Oct. 2 – Amelia
Oct. 9 – Western Brown
Oct. 16 – at Goshen
Oct. 23 – at Walton-Verona
Oct. 30 – at Norwood
All games are Fridays at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.