Football camp notebook: Benefit game important for Rams

Strasburg head coach Mark Roller works with his offense during a recent practice. The Rams will host Moorefield, West Virginia, at 7 tonight. Rich Cooley/Daily

Strasburg head coach Mark Roller works with his offense during a recent practice. The Rams will host Moorefield, West Virginia, at 7 tonight. Rich Cooley/Daily

STRASBURG — Strasburg football coach Mark Roller will be taking a good, hard look at tonight’s benefit game with Moorefield, West Virginia, as it will be the only preseason game the Rams will have this year. The Rams host Moorefield at 7 p.m.

Roller said that they decided to only have one scrimmage this season in part to keep the players healthy.

“I know a lot of people like to have two scrimmages,” Roller said. “But for us it’s just nicer to know that you only have to play one time, especially when you start getting numbers to where we have numbers with only 30 kids. You start getting a few injuries and you start dropping your numbers.”

He said since his players haven’t played in a game yet, there’s a lot he’ll be looking at today.

“I want to see how we run the ball. That’s the big thing and how our offensive line blocks,” Roller said. “We’re expecting them to be able to do those things since they’re the ones with the most experience. Then obviously we’d like to see how (senior quarterback) Ethan (Duckworth) handles himself in the pocket and throwing the ball.”

The Rams have some new faces on defense this year, including some younger players and Roller said he wants to see how they respond to their first game.

“Your putting them in a spot, where I think physically we can handle it,” Roller said. “Mentally knowing where we’re supposed to be is going to be tough, and it always is when you got new guys.”

Roller said facing Moorefield will also be a tough task. The Yellow Jackets run a no-huddle offense.

“We’re going to be gassed, it’s going to be warm,” Roller said. “So it’s going to test us a little bit, and we need a little bit of that adversity, because you don’t get that in practice, especially when you only have 30 guys. So it’s going to be good to see what we can do there against a team like Moorefield.”

Depth on the O-line: One of Straburg’s strongest areas this season should be on the offensive line.

Seniors Zach Scott, Hunter Riley, Ryan Day and Ryan Jenkins and sophomore Hunter Miller are expected to be the starters. Roller said that only Day, who did not play last year, did not see playing time on the offensive line last season.

Senior Caleb Warren and juniors Ian Alsberry, Quentin Elliott and Shawn Hamp will also see playing time there, and all of them had playing time last year.

Roller said that he’s hoping to be able to rotate guys in some and keep the starters as fresh as possible because some of them are expected to play on both offense and defense.

“We’ve always had guys play both ways, but when you have four or five of your offensive lineman that are going both ways that’s tough,” Roller said. “It’s not bad when you have skill guys, but offensive lineman are the ones you really worry about and that’s where we’re hoping those younger guys can step in and fill some spots.”

Leading the way: Strasburg has 11 seniors, although several of them didn’t play football the last year or two.

Last year the Rams struggled with leadership and team chemistry, but Roller said that so far he’s been pleased with how the seniors have responded.

“They’re eager. They’re wanting to make their last year their best, and of course I can’t fault them for that, but I think we’re only going to get as far as where they lead us,” Roller said. “We’ve talked about that a little bit, and I think it gets to a point where you work together as a team and I think I see a lot of that coming out now. Like ‘wherever I can help, I’m going to help’ and that’s what we’re looking forward to.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com

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