Ringgold not using inexperience as excuse this season

| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Fourth-year Ringgold coach Matt Humbert knows he has a young team this year, but he is not tempering his goals for his inexperienced squad.

In his eyes, it just doesn't work that way, and inexperience is no excuse.

“Our expectation is to always make the playoffs, and that is no different this year,” said Humbert, who has led the Rams to the postseason in his first three seasons.

“But this year, I am preaching short-term goals week to week, and eventually things will pay off.”

A year ago, Ringgold slumped badly at the end of the season, losing its final three games and finishing in a tie for the final playoff spot with Belle Vernon.

The Rams lost in the first round of the playoffs to eventual WPIAL champion West Allegheny, 34-8.

The four straight losses put a damper on a season that started out 4-2.

To start this campaign, the Rams open with perennial powerhouse Thomas Jefferson for a Big 9 Conference battle.

“You are always optimistic coming into each year,” Humbert said.

“The nice thing is that we will get to see what a playoff-caliber team looks like right away.

“You always know where you stand after you play TJ.”

There is one break in the Rams' schedule.

Ringgold plays five of its first seven contests, all conference matchups, at home.

“With so many young players, they can get their feet wet at home in front of friends and classmates instead of on the road,” Humbert said.

“I think that is a nice little incentive as we were on the road a lot last year.”

With such a young team, Humbert said there will be competition almost across the board.

“There is competition, and we will be shuffling guys in and out at positions,” he said.

Humbert pointed out a trio of seniors as leading players — guard/defensive end Nick Trocano, fullback/inside linebacker Matt Kirby and Dayshore Majors, who will be a multi-purpose athlete on offense and see time at both safety and outside linebacker on defense — as well as returning starting quarterback Nico Law, a junior, who also plays safety.

Law, in his first season under center, threw for 620 yards and four touchdowns in 2012.

“Those are some of the guys that we will lean on,” he said.

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