2019 Rocky River Football Preview

Ravens Quarterback Korey Hailey. (Paul Imirie)
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Coach Gray working drills. (Paul Imirie)
2018 football action. (Ed Berti)
Defensive lineman in action at recent practice. (Paul Imirie)
Working techniques with Coach Gray. (Paul Imirie)

We reached out, communicated, and met with head football coach Orlando Gray at Rocky River High School recently during practice. We received the following feedback from our questions pertaining to the upcoming 2019 Ravens football season from “The Rock.”

2019 Ravens Football Preview Questions:

 1. What has the team stressed in camp and practices to date? We have stressed accountability, toughness, and commitment. We must be accountable for our actions, accountable to each other, and accountable to our school. Toughness is physical and mental and we must possess both in order to be successful. Lastly, we must be committed to each other and to our Raven family. This is how we will overcome adversity this year and for years to come.

2. What are your team strengths? Our strength this year will be our experience at quarterback, the outside linebacker, and defensive line positions.

3. In what area do you need the most improvement?  Our defensive back position has no returning starters, but we have some good young talent that has been competing hard all summer.

4. How is your offensive team this season? Our offense is building from the success we had the last few games of the 2018 season. Therefore, we are looking to take the next step on that side of the ball. Quarterback Korey Hailey is a very talented player that is going to turn some heads with his play this season. We will feature a couple of running backs Kalib Jennings, Kirkland Williams, and Miles McNeil. Our wide receivers have some new talent in the bunch and we are excited about what we can do in that position. Kacee Sinclair, Sinceer Scott, Antwan Collins, Isaiah Mcilwain, Tyrone McNair, and Kalil Alexander. We don’t have a James Maye caliber player, but we have more depth at the position than we have had in the past few years. We have some great talent and size on the offensive line. Korion Sharpe (three-year starter) Gabriel Palacios, Alfredo Alvarez, Kendall Stanley, and Anthony Gunter.

5. How would you rate your defense and special teams? I believe we have one of the best defenses in the area. We take great pride in our special team’s play so I expect us to be good in that area as well along with the kicking game.

6. How deep is your depth chart on the 2019 team? This year we have quality depth in our second unit, except at the QB position. We are in the process of grooming a couple of JV players to backup Hailey. They are both developing and will be taking a lot of reps in practices and participate in JV games. We will suit up one or possibly two for varsity games.

7. Where do you stack-up in the Southwestern 4-A Conference? I believe that we can finish in one of the top three positions this year. Where we finish depends on how we handle adversity this year.

8. What are your realistic expectations for this season? Finish with a winning season and a playoff birth. Once we are in the playoffs, the State Championship would be our goal. We must aim high to be successful.

9. Any other comments about players, coaches, or important points of interest?  Last season taught us many lessons and hopefully this season we will show our maturity and growth as a team when we perform on Thursday and Friday nights.

The team is playing a tough schedule this season and will have a challenge to accomplish all their goals. However, to build a program you must compete against well established successful teams to improve and achieve your own goals.

The Ravens will open up against West Charlotte on August 23rd, at home. Then they play Hunter Huss away, Mallard Creek home, Harding University away, Butler away, Myers Park home, Hickory Ridge away, East Mecklenburg home, Porter Ridge away, Independence home, and Garinger away.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
Ed can be reached at ed@minthilltimes.com, eberti7777@gmail.com and linkedin.com.